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Stratford on Avon

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:47 pm
by Steve
Response to Article on motorhome parking increase to £20

https://www.stratford.gov.uk/news/press ... aN5gVxO6_Y

Good evening, I was very disappointed to read the proposed increase in charges for motorhomes in Stratford at a time when many councils are looking to benefit from the £850 million spent each year in local businesses by the UK’s 357,000 motorcaravans.
CAMpRA (campaign for real Aires) has released its Motorcaravan Strategy Document 2021 which has been well received by councils throughout the UK highlighting the way that mainland Europe have tapped into this huge year round source of income and how the UK who for some reason fail to recognise this income stream especially important post covid to support our local businesses.
There is another way the CAMpRA way.

This years increased in staycations has highlighted a lack in facilities for camping, caravans and motorcaravans and proven a long term problem with the UK network of campsites.

There are currently over 357,000 registered motorcaravans in the UK and over 1.7 million in Europe.
Recent survey of 8956 owners show that the average amount spent locally when staying overnight is over £47 plus retail spending.
If only 10% of UK owners were staying 1 night that is over £1.1 million per day.
So how can Stratford attract motorcaravans and benefit from this

Firstly we must understand that a motorcaravan only needs a place to park (not camp) if they want to set up camp they will use a campsite.

They should be limited to 48 or 72 hours stays

They need water and waste disposal points every few days

These are commonly known as “Aires” and there are several thousand of these throughout Europe but very few in the UK.

For a local council provision of these is relatively easy and with minimum investment and they can be used to fund existing facilities.

Motorcaravans tour 365 days per year.

Examples of Aires (overnight parking - No Camping)

Overnight parking and sleeping - This is the easiest provision for a council as they can use their existing powers or by a TRO to allow overnight parking for self contained motorcaravans only (no camping behaviour) in car parks or on any plot of level land. Preferably with specific allocated motorcaravan bays.

Overnight parking with water and waste points (these are required every 4 to 5 days) and will prevent any illegal emptying of waste. - These will require an initial investment which can be kept to a minimum if toilets already exist as it is simply an outside tap and toilet cassette emptying. Ideally a drive over drain (see example provided) for grey waste (washing up and shower water) could be provided and bins for rubbish.

Service points only - These can be installed where there is access for one vehicle but no parking. Good examples are public toilets as this is a great way of funding a public toilet ( £3 to use only 10 vans per day £11,000 per year). Other examples are car wash, local garage, village hall, church or any local businesses that have water and sewage.

Full blown Aire - These require some initial investment or can be outsourced to a professional body who will install and manage these on your behalf. You retain ownership of the land and receive of percentage of the revenue from parking. These are secure areas with entrance barriers, cctv, electric points and are accessed by a pre paid card (we are able to provide details of a company specialising in these).

Existing campsite - Aires do not take business away from campsites as most motorcaravan owners do use campsites if staying for more than a few days but campsites are often out of town, have grass pitches, are seasonal, require pre booking often months in advance, often require min stays and are increasingly FULL. But there is no reason they cannot learn from our European neighbours where campsite cater for motorcaravans by having non bookable overnight budget parking (no camping), access to service points (for a small charge) and of course when the main site closes these can continue to operate and provide additional income.

Other Benefits for Stratford
Allowing motorcaravans to park closer to towns and villages encourages spending in local businesses on average £47 per day.
Allowing aires with water and waste points would reduce the illegal emptying of waste by irresponsible motorcaravan owners which is good for the environment.
Small clubs struggling for funds could establish aires as an income stream using existing car parks.

The UK is crying out for a network like this especially now with an increase in staycations and rapid growth in sales.


www.campra.org.uk

Strategy document attached

Re: Stratford on Avon

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:36 pm
by Steve
Reply received and my answer

Dear Mr Haywood

Thank you for your email in response to the news release about changes to parking charges.

Here is the response received from Parking Services.

The Council has taken into consideration the local rates offered to motorhomes for overnight parking. For example, the current tariffs at Stratford Racecourse (a 20-30 minute walk from Stratford Town Centre) are as follows:

Stratford Touring Park Tariffs

· Electric Pitch £20
· Non Electric Pitch £17
· Electric American RV Pitch (Over 10 Metres) £25
Furthermore, a charge of £20 for overnight parking is comparable (if not better value) than many tourist destinations in the UK.

Kind regards

Beverley Hemming
Corporate Communications Manager

Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Elizabeth House, Church Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6HX



Hi Beverley thank you for your prompt reply, the letter was not just about the charges but about providing facilities similar to the rest of Europe to encourage motorcaravan tourist (over 357,000 registered in the UK) to visit and spend in local shops and restaurants.
If you are to use the racecourse campsite as a price comparison is then £20 for a pitch on a campsite to erect awnings set up camp for £20 makes a parking spot in your car park also £20 very expensive and out of proportion.
We have many examples on our website (UK Aires Gallery) of UK tourist destinations with overnight parking for motorcaravans and not one is anywhere near £20.
Hawick free, Canterbury £3.50 (with water and waste point), Paignton £4 and about 50 more.

Our recent survey with 8956 responses show that 92% would pay a max of £5 to park overnight and 96% £10 if water and waste was available.
The reality is that our members plus thousands from Europe post lockdown would like to visit Stratford but nor at £20 just to park.
Our website has many examples of motorcaravan overnight parking in tourist

Hopefully the team will read the document, ( I can provide a copy of our survey results) and review the policy of encouraging motorcaravan tourist.

Re: Stratford on Avon

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:42 pm
by pcb7ty
The carpark T&C's state parking for 9 motorhomes. No overnight sleeping.

Re: Stratford on Avon

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 6:10 pm
by Steve
Emailed Trevor Harvey head of Finance

Dear clr Harvey, we would like to make you aware of a potential £850 million of spending in local shops from visiting motorcaravans that is being largely ignore by the UK.
The pandemic has forced an increase in staycations and highlighted a huge gap in the UK that has been recognised by the rest of Europe for many years.
The UK have a rapidly expanding base of over 357,000 registered motorcaravans, a recent survey showed that 82% travel all year round and the average spend in local shops and restaurants is £47 per day when staying locally.
Our network of campsites are not geared up to cope with the modern touring motorcaravan, these are mainly self contained units who only require a place to park and a water and waste point every 3 to 4 days.
These sites known as Aires are common all over mainland Europe and some towns have two or three sites but the UK has been very slow to recognise this huge revenue stream, instead of making simple provisions and encouraging these visitor with spending power we erect no overnight parking or sleeping signs, height barriers etc to drive them away or force them to park in the street, some of your car parks have a weight limit.
CAMpRA (campaign for real Aires in the UK) is a rapidly growing group of motorcaravan owners who want to stay in the UK and have safe places to park (not camp) close to our towns where we can spend our money locally.
Many towns are starting to recognise this opportunity and preparing for post covid lockdown when our motorcaravans will be mobile again and touring our countryside.
For councils its an easy fix :-
1) Allow overnight parking and sleeping in self contained motorcaravans (no external equipment)
2) Fast track planning consent for small businesses and clubs who want to raise funds by allowing overnight parking for self contained motorcaravans
3) Provide water and waste points where possible attached to toilets or other sources (these do not need to be on the same site as parking) car washes are a good example.

We have lots of information in our website www.campra.org.uk resource files which we are happy for you to access and use, we have examples in our UK Aires Gallery of existing locations in the UK.
And of course I am always available to discuss further, we are all volunteers.
Please make Stratford on Avon a motorcaravan friendly town.

Re: Stratford on Avon

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:24 pm
by Steve
Reply received

Dear Steve, Nigel and Dave

Whilst you can’t see each other’s name on the e mail, as I have “blind copied you all in, I thought that it would be easier and more consistent to write to you collectively as the issue you raise is common in all the emails and I thank you all for taking the time to get in touch and for your comments.

I have read the strategy document that is referred to in your e mails and having been a campervan owner myself I do recognise the points you make.

As Cllr. Harvey has highlighted, the increase in charges was to deal with a specific problem and therefore I have made a note of your comments as the proposal was only approved for public consultation 2 days ago.

I know that you would like a decision now but practicality wise it would be better to review and summarise all comments made during the statutory consultation period and make the decision in one Cabinet meeting rather than piecemeal, so whilst I can’t give you a decision now I promise that I will come back to you.

Once again I am grateful for your comments and bringing this issue to the councils attention.

Re: Stratford on Avon

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:55 am
by Louey
Hi all, my first post on the forum.

Do you have an email address to send correspondence to at Stratford-on-Avon District Council?

I've put a letter together, stating the overall issue of their crazy price increase and added reasoning based on my own personal issues: my daughter is currently in a wheelchair and that the campsites are not within accessible reach of the town centre. I'm local to Stratford-on-Avon and it is was a regular stop over spot for weekends - I really hope we don't get priced out of there.

As for their reasoning? Noise - usually caused by HGVs and especially 'boy/girl racer' type hanging about till all hours.
Campiste comparison - Avon Park wants minimum of £24 (goes up to over £30) in summer, and the racecourse is not very accessible at £17 plus. Add to this taxis to get to the town centre.

I understand the need to increase revenue and stated that £5-8 is reasonable charge and also limit number of nights - though it is not a place that you would spend a week at.

Re: Stratford on Avon

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:10 pm
by Steve

Re: Stratford on Avon

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:28 pm
by NigelDunn
This was my email to Cllr Harvey:

Hi Trevor
You will have received an email from Steve Haywood from the Campaign for Real Aires UK. My fault, I’m afraid.

This is due to SDC’s proposed increase in fees to park camper and and motorhomes at the leisure centre to £20.

I know from our meeting last night the financial situation that SDC is in, and I also know there is heavy dependence on tourism.

It seems a strange decision. Increasing parking charges will bring in some money of course, however many motorhome/campers will stay away and go somewhere where they are made to feel welcome. I know this anecdotally and also because I’m one of them!

When us campervanners visit a town, we spend money - as the document Steve has emailed will tell you. Stratford will miss this tourist income.

On the subject of being made to feel welcome, to make matters worse, those of us who have written in have received an identical standard letter. This letter is not only dismissive but makes the ridiculous point that the Racecourse charges a similar amount. This is the Racecourse which enjoys a lovely green area with hot showers, black and grey water disposal and is an easy pleasant walk into town

I won’t go on, however I would be glad to answer any questions you may have.

I do hope you will give this serious consideration - benefits are to be gained by all.

I attach Campra’s Strategy Document for your info.

And this was his reply:

Dear Nigel

Thanks for your email. I have received Steve Haywood's email in my SDC inbox. Any increase to car parking charges is likely, at best, to receive grudging acceptance, even if merited by the facts. The decision taken by The Cabinet on Monday (11 Jan 21) re car parking charges in general was to approve the basis upon which a six week consultation exercise will be conducted. You will see that I have copied this reply to Ian Shenton. I've done so because Ian is SDC's Portfolio Holder with responsibility for this area of policy and I am sure he will be interested to read your comments.

My understanding is that the essential reason for the increase of the overnight tariff from £2 to £20 for coaches, lorries and motorhomes is that, given where they relevant car parks are located, there have been numerous complaints from residents living in the adjacent areas about excessive noise generated by engines at inconvenient times of the day and night causing disturbance. Now, in practice this may be attributable to coaches and lorries.

There is at least a case to be argued, based on the sort of arguments that Steve advocates, about the need to encourage tourism and the beneficial implications for local businesses. Consequently, there is a case to be considered that motorhomes be treated more akin to a car than a lorry. I am sure that Ian will have regard to this suggestion. I will discuss this through with Ian next time I see him.

Stay well!

Best regards

Trevor

I replied to both Trevor Harvey and Ian Shenton pointing out that the noise nuisance is, from personal experience, caused by refrigerated lorries parked up for the night with their engines running.

I think it's very important for as many members as possible to write in (independently) to show SDC the strength of feeling about these proposed charges, and re-iterating the likely loss of tourist revenue should they go ahead.

Re: Stratford on Avon

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:14 pm
by Steve
Thats great Nigel, and positive that he is reading the information.
There is a car park across the river were they do park runs that has plenty of space but a believe a 2 ton weight limit?
The racecourse is a nice site and at £17 is fine but 8 believe it is seasonal ? and of course often full.
We love Stratford but not visited since we had the motorcaravan we stayed on the site when we had a caravan.
It looks like we are being linked with coaches and lorries maybe a separate area with a limit on length?
There are also locations on the outskirts.

Re: Stratford on Avon

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 3:18 pm
by Louey
NigelDunn wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:28 pm there have been numerous complaints from residents living in the adjacent areas about excessive noise generated by engines at inconvenient times of the day and night causing disturbance. Now, in practice this may be attributable to coaches and lorries.

the noise nuisance is, from personal experience, caused by refrigerated lorries parked up for the night with their engines running.
I added in my letter, from experience that the noise is either HGVs or the regular meeting of boy/girl racer types - the latter i should have added can park closer to the houses that back on the car park due to height barriers stopping MHs and HGVs.