Letter to councils and MP

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Grandadsgapyear
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Letter to councils and MP

Post by Grandadsgapyear »

This is an email I sent to all Teignbridge councillors, Devon county council, Torbay council and my MP Anne-Marie Morris, lets see what comes of it. If you follow the thread on down the page you will see several promising responses from Teignbridge Councillors. As yet I've only had acknowledging emails fro Devon County and Torbay Councils.



Dear Councillors,

I write to you as a resident of Dawlish

I am a keen motorhome user with over twelve years experience both in this country and on the continent. Having now retired my wife and I spend the majority of our time on the road, and it’s a wonderful way of seeing countries. Pre Covid we spent two years travelling Europe taking in over twenty countries and our aim is to carry on travelling once this pandemic allows.
From our experience of touring within the UK campsites are rarely within easy walking distance of towns and many are vastly overpriced, particularly if you don’t need to use the facilities as motorhomes are fully self contained. Most car parks around the country prohibit overnight stays meaning that after we have visited a town we must move on for the night, this necessitates leaving a town early in order to find a suitable location and cuts the amount of money we would be spending in the town, for example on evening meals.
On the continent we felt much more welcome and indeed France, Spain, Germany and Italy, from personal experience, provide many “aires” in the towns. Some of these are free and for some there a small charge but they all encourage motorhomers to visit the area. In other countries, Greece was a particular favourite, although there are not the dedicated areas to overnight there are provisions to pick up water and overnight parking is tolerated widely.
I have done some research into the provisions made by towns twinned with Teignbridge towns, Torbay and Exeter.

Carhaix, twinned with Dawlish, has a dedicated aire.
Troarn, twinned with Chudleigh, has a dedicated aire.
Perros-Guirel, twinned with Teingmouth, has dedicated motorhome parking in the town without facilities.
Ay, twinned with Newton Abbot, although there is no aire in the town the nearest is in Mutigny on the outskirts.
La Molay, twinned with Bovey Tracey, has an aire within four miles.
Le Pre-d-Augre, twinned with Abbotskerswell, has an aire within two miles.
Hamelin in Germany, twinned with Torbay, has two aires.
Rennes, twinned with Exeter, has an aire.

I follow a group called CAMpRA, Campaign for real aires, who are campaigning to improve facilities in this country for motorhomes enabling short stays in and around towns and cities and the following figures have been researched by the group.
There are over 250,000 motorhome owners in the UK and this figure is growing fast. There are many times this figure in Europe.
They are very keen to visit our area and research shows they would be likely to spend an average of £50 per day in our area. They are mostly retirees with disposable income.

THEY HAVE NOWHERE TO STAY !!
Motorhomers very rarely use campsites, hotels or B&Bs so any provision would not be in competition with these providers. Motorhomers need three things:

1) An overnight parking space
2) A place to dispose of toilet cassette & washing up waste
3) A freshwater supply

The solution is very simple:

1) Allocate motorhome parking spaces in local car parks with a charge of £5 per night plus the relevant day charges.
2) Provide a 'Motorhome Service Area' with facilities to dispose of waste and refresh water, with signage

I suspect any concerns you might have will be with regard to the 'wrong' people using these car parks/sites so, we at CAMpRA, have done our research and discovered the following:

1) The presence of paying motorhomes deters criminals - lots of extra pairs of eyes – just display a contact number for police/security.
2) In rural areas, it has mostly eliminated fly tipping.
3) It can generate a fair amount of revenue which would offset any (minimal) costs involved.
4) We are associated with the 'Wild & Wombling Motorhomers' whose mission is to clear up litter after other people.

However, the BIGGEST BENEFIT is that of their contribution to the local economy.

A quick drive around our area has prompted some ideas for overnight parking/sleeping, eg In Dawlish, Barton car park, Sandy lane car park, Leisure centre carpark, Dawlish Warren outer car park. Teignmouth, Eastcliff car park and Polly steps car park. Newton Abbot cricket field car park.

Service areas could be set up in Retail Parks, Industrial Estates, Car Washes, Supermarkets, Petrol Stations, Leisure centres.

There are many success stories around the country:

· Forestry Scotland has just completed a pilot scheme which it is now continuing
· Craven District Council have trialled with 2 car parks and have just extended to 3
· Canterbury Council have 3 such 'Aires'
· Hawick Council are having great success with their scheme

There are many more and many in the process of being setting up.

Please have a look at this Facebook group (free) https://www.facebook.com/groups/campra.uk or their website https://www.campra.org.uk

I know CAMpRA have met with various other interested bodies and have much more information that could help you, they have lots of networking opportunities for promoting tourism to our area. It really is a 'Win/Win ' situation.

Kind Regards

Yours sincerely

Paul Dennett
Last edited by Grandadsgapyear on Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Grandadsgapyear
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Re: Letter to councils and MP

Post by Grandadsgapyear »

Great to have a prompt and positive response from a councillor.

Dear Paul Dennett,

Thank you for your email.

I can assure you this is something we are looking in to.

Kind regards

Richard

Cllr Richard Keeling
Executive Member for Corporate Resources
Armed Forces Covenant Champion
Fair Trade Ambassador to Teignbridge
District Councillor for the Chudleigh Ward.
richard.keeling@teignbridge.gov.uk
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Re: Letter to councils and MP

Post by Grandadsgapyear »

I have responded as follows.

Dear Richard,

Many thanks for your prompt and positive response I appreciate your attention.
As a result of covid and Brexit I think you will find the numbers of motorhomes in our area is going to much higher than in previous years, presenting an opportunity for local business. Indeed the first winter travels, who left before restrictions were in place, are now having to return from warmer climates. This is due to the 90 day rule that now effects stays in Europe and many will be searching for suitable parking areas.
If I can be of any further assistance please feel free to contact me, I’m also sure CAMpRA would also be happy to help in anyway they can.
Once again many thanks.

Regards Paul
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Re: Letter to councils and MP

Post by Grandadsgapyear »

Two very promising responses from Teignbridge councillors.

Dear Paul,
Thank you for your email and although I do not have a Motorhome, I do have friends that live in France or travel there, and you are right most places in France welcome Motorhomes with free parking and for a small charge you can link up with power and water etc. The benefits for the town or area is very easy to see and the time limit on any one stay of up to 3 days encourage the owns to explore and spend. I do understand that in Europe space is not as restricted as in this country but we need to think outside of the box and you make some worthwhile suggestions, but seeing TDC like many district councils rely on income from parking, a Motorhome taking up at least 2 car spaces would be a good reason not to do as you suggested. As I said we need to think out of the box there is I believe a very good case to consider your request, once we start getting back to some sort of normality the pressures to holiday within this country will increase.
I hope the council at the very least looks into your request, I for one can see the advantages to our local economy.
Regards
Mike

Cllr. Mike Hocking
Independent Councillor for Bradley W

Hi Mike, I agree about the need for car parking spaces but why not look at places like St Michael’s Field to expand the parking area to allow some space for motor homes. The changing rooms have the power, water and drainage available to provide amenities and TDC could generate an income. (The views down the estuary would make it a good stopping place)
The same could apply in other car parking areas alongside playing fields.
There will be a need to have adequate controls but as you say, we need to think ‘outside of the box’
Regards
Phil Bullivant

I responded with the following.

Dear Mike,

Thank you very much for your positive response it is reassuring to hear that you can see the advantages of encouraging motorhomes to park within easy reach of our towns. You say motorhomes take up two spaces and in some cases this is true particularly of the larger motorhomes, however a great deal would fit within a single bay.
Maybe I could suggest doing as Torridge district council do, and I believe from memory Fort William town council, and that is to charge for both spaces used this way there is no loss in revenue to the council.
I strongly believe that the number of motorhomes you will see on the road this year will be much greater than previous years and in my opinion there are two main reasons for this:
1/ People are reluctant to travel abroad due to this wretched virus.
2/ Due to Brexit we can only stay within Europe for 90 days in every 180. The first people affected by this ruling are this month having to return to the UK having left before travel restrictions were imposed.

Best regards
Paul
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Re: Letter to councils and MP

Post by Grandadsgapyear »

A further two replies from Teignbridge Councillors, fingers crossed its very promising.

Dear Paul

Thank you for your email. Although I have never had a motorhome, I used to have a large touring caravan in which we traveled far and wide.
I read with interest your experiences in being able to use car parks on the continent, some without charge.
I am chair of the Car Parking Review Group at TDC and we have been discussing motorhomes and the need in having somewhere to park overnight.
As you say, car parks could be used for overnight stays which would allow people to use the local restaurants and cafes and in turn boost the economy.
We do need to encourage visitors to our towns and to make them feel welcome, if they have nowhere to park they will just move on to other areas, probably telling other motorhome owners there is no point in going to the Teignbridge area as they don’t provide facilities for motorhomes.

I intend to bring this to our next meeting for further discussion, and can I thank you again for raising these very valid issues with us.

Kind regards

John

Cllr John Nutley
Teignbridge District Councillor for
Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Ward



Thank you for your well argued email.
I accept the points you make and support the basic concept.
The Administration is actively considering progress.
Regards
Gordon Hook
Liberal Democrat Councillor: Buckland and Milber.
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Re: Letter to councils and MP

Post by Grandadsgapyear »

Two more replies from councillors one of whom is going to join the group.

Dear Paul, thank you for your very interesting message it has generated some positive discussion and suggestions. I will follow this up and I’m sure you will hear more from us in the near future. Dave

Kind regards
Councillor Dave Rollason
Kingsteignton West

Hi Paul,

Thank you for getting in touch and for all your work.

Just to let you know that I have noted your email and as the member responsible for parking I have a meeting this week to discuss this very thing. I will forward your email as the research you have done is excellent and extremely helpful.

I may not be able to update you with any concrete details immediately as this is something that has been in discussion for many years and still no solution. However, please feel free to get in touch at any point if you wish. In the meantime I am going to join the FB group.

Take care.

Best Wishes
Cllr Nina Jeffries
Executive Member for Economy and Jobs
District Councillor for Teignmouth West Ward
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Re: Letter to councils and MP

Post by Grandadsgapyear »

Another positive response from a Teignbridge Councillor

Dear Paul

As a motorhomer myself I am very much in agreement and have been working to persuade my colleagues of the benefits of being pro-active regarding motorhomes this summer.
Cllr Nina Jeffries, an executive member, and myself are working with the leader to find a solution and make sure we’re ready for the influx of visitors.

We’re particularly interested in how East Devon have tackled the issue at Exmouth and, as a Member of Dartmoor National Park Authority, we’re looking at the use of temporary planning permissions for a number of locations and fields.

I’ve been frustrated by a lack of progress in the past but hopefully we’re on the way to some more forward thinking and getting some better facilities sorted.

On a personal level I am looking forward to being able to get out in our van again and am missing the freedom of the French Aires!

Kind regards

Sally Morgan

Bovey Tracey
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Re: Letter to councils and MP

Post by Steve »

Great work here any chance of getting a zoom meeting with Sally?
I will happily join you.
Steve - CAMpRA Leadership Team
Grandadsgapyear
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Re: Letter to councils and MP

Post by Grandadsgapyear »

Yet another response from a Teignbridge Councillor.

Hi Paul,
Many thanks for suggesting this, we have looked at this before and perhaps not had the background that you have provided.
We will discuss it and probably come back for more information.
Many thanks
Martin.

Martin Wrigley, Community, IT & Housing Portfolio Holder, TDC
Cllr for Dawlish North East
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Re: Letter to councils and MP

Post by Grandadsgapyear »

I have received the attached reply from my local MP.

Dear Paul,

Thank you for contacting me about the Campaign for Real Aires.

Motorhomes are a great way for families to travel around the United Kingdom and Europe without having to deal with the hassle of booking hotels and transport. Your travels sound fantastic! It is also great to see that there is a strong online community of motorhome owners who want to see improvements to local overnight parking sites.

As the provision of parking is a local issue, it would be best to contact our local council to ask what more can be done to support such local tourism. I know that this topic is subject to ongoing discussion locally. As you will know, tourism is very important to our part of the country and we should do our best to accommodate visitors. It may also be worthwhile to approach local businesses with a proposal to better use any empty space they have for overnight parking. I am sure that many will be very interested in bringing people in and making some additional business.

It is very important to look for new ways to improve travel in the UK, now more than ever, and I welcome proposals such as these to help kickstart our local tourism businesses.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Anne Marie Morris MP
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