Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire

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arthur49
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Re: Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire

Post by arthur49 »

Response received by Dawn Mair from Aberdeen Council:
"Thank you for your recent email regarding Aires Motorhome Network. I have been making enquiries with council officers regarding your proposal and they have advised me of the following:-
“As a city council, our ability to apply for rural funding is limited and it would also be a struggle to see where these facilities could be located. The fund is only applicable to rural areas as defined by the Scottish Government’s official Urban/Rural classification 5 and 6 – “accessible and remote rural areas” excluding settlements above 3,000 people and within a 30 minute drive time of a Settlement of 10,000 or more. It would exclude towns and larger villages within these locations. Primarily, it is to support infrastructure requirements around (nonpaid for) visitor or natural attractions, i.e. areas of outstanding scenic beauty, that have attracted increased visitor numbers and to stop deterioration of the natural and built environment, as well as benefitting local communities in the area.
Attached is the link to camping/ caravanning on the Visit Aberdeenshire site. Caravan Sites & Holiday Parks in Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire (visitabdn.com). The Aires are sometimes part of motorway services, sometimes more pleasant surroundings.
In terms of your suggestions about car parks (specifically the Beach Waterfront, Old Hazlehead site and Torry Battery) the use of existing car parks wouldn’t raise too many issues assuming that any bylaws etc allow it. There have been incidents in the past where residents have raised concerns when Torry Battery car park was used by a worker from the harbour, however, the bigger concern would be any abuse of those sites in terms of waste and dumping and the enforcement of any charges. I am not sure a £5 charge (bearing in mind we need to collect it in some way) would cover those costs.
In relation to new sites, that clearly would require planning consent and as such might be something we want to consider guidance on if we felt there was a demand for it. That said, we don’t get many campervans at the Beach or at Torry and at the moment they can park there for free.
This is something we’ve been monitoring, particularly this year, with those on staycations. It is quite sad but we’re just not seeing the numbers coming to Aberdeen.
Yes we get the odd one but it’s not something that we’re seeing the numbers to warrant installing the required infrastructure.
These sites being mentioned normally have power supplies and waste stations, however, these would only be practical if the numbers increase.”
I’m sorry it’s not better news Dawn but it is certainly something Aberdeen City Council are monitoring, particularly at the Beach Area. It may be something for the future if numbers eventually increase.
Best wishes,
Marie"

On FB page I've suggested others write. I will be writing to her today - there are so many holes in her argument eg "we're not seeing the numbers to warrant installing the required infrastructure" ............ but visitors don't come because there's no facilities!
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Re: Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire

Post by arthur49 »

This is my email to Marie Boulton - I've edited out personal info I used to hopefully get her to listen. And Dawn Mair has done an email backing me up in her position as a Council Tax payer.

"Dear Councillor Boulton

[Personal background]

Firstly can I clarify a few things about Aires:
- not normally on motorways eg Hawick and Findhorn
- electric hook up is NOT required

Also, local authority land is exempt from requiring site license under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960

When lockdown restrictions eased at the end of April we headed up to the north east. First overnight was Castleton Farm Shop, Fordoun. Then we stopped overnight at Deeside Activity Park, near Lumphanan. Both these businesses are happy for us to stop over as we spent £30 to £40 at each. But they have no waste or water facilities.

We needed fresh water to fill onboard tank. So we then headed to Port Errol Harbour, Cruden Bay, and stopped there overnight, spending some money in the Kilmarnock Arms.

But where next as we needed to empty our grey water (dishes, shower) and black water (cassette toilet - no chemicals)? We left Aberdeenshire completely and used facilities at the campervan friendly community of Balintore near Invergordon. Spent the night at Balintore Inn parking area, and we had two takeaway meals £30+.

The reason I'm describing this is you'll notice our home city of Aberdeen did not feature as there are no facilities for campervans. I would suggest one reason you saw low numbers of staycation visitors is you have no campervan facilities? Provide the facilities and campervans will visit.

There are 390000 campervans registered with DVLA and I believe its the fastest growing tourism sector.
It is estimated that campervanners in the UK spend approx £1b annually in shops, cafes, pubs, attractions etc. I'm sure Aberdeen city would like a slice of that cake?

I'm pleased that overnight parking at the Prom or Park and Ride at Bridge of Don (and Kingswells?) is not an issue. If bye laws prevent this then the Council have the authority to alter the bye laws? Canterbury has had a very successful and popular park and ride campervan facility for years. Last time we were there it was £3.50/night and that included return bus to the centre.

Which leaves water and waste facilities. There is (or was) a toilet block at each end of the Prom which could be adapted? (We were on Arran in June and the residents of Whiting Bay adapted an old toilet block for campervans).

Also suitable options could be recycling centres, car washes, disused petrol station forecourts and the toilets at Park and Ride?

Providing facilities for campervans does not need to be complex or particularly expensive.

Thank you for listening. I would be very happy to speak to you and/or a Council Officer. In the meantime I urge you and Council Officers to check out the attached CAMpRA website. Click on 'Business Hub' and there you will find solutions (not problems!) and the answer to many questions.

Arthur Davidson
Perth
Tel 0xxxxxxxxxx


https://campra.org.uk/
arthur49
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Re: Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire

Post by arthur49 »

Reply below from Councillor and my reply:
"Thank you for listening Marie. I really want my home city to prosper. Look forward to hearing from the Council Officers.
Regards
Arthur

On Wednesday, 22 September 2021, 15:05:11 BST, Marie Boulton <mboulton@aberdeencity.gov.uk> wrote:
Good Afternoon Arthur,
Thank you for your email and apologies for the delay in responding to you.
I have passed your email to the relevant council officers to consider and contact you should they require further information.
Best wishes,

Marie
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Re: Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire - FSB letter

Post by arthur49 »

For completeness I have separate correspondence ongoing with Federation of Small Businesses Aberdeen here viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2030

PS sorry if I've made this more complicated than it need be .........
Last edited by arthur49 on Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Aberdeen City - Visit Scotland letter

Post by arthur49 »

Letter to Jo Robinson, Regional Director, Aberdeen, Visit Scotland:

" [Background info]

Many campervanners like us avoid campsites for the following reasons:

1. Expensive. We have everything we need onboard. Toilet, shower, sink, cooker, heating, hot water etc so we object to paying for these facilities on a caravan site.

2. We don’t need electric hook up, yet we’re usually expected to pay for it in a pitch price.

3.Often located in the countryside, nowhere near a community where we can spend our money in pubs, cafes, food, shops, attractions etc.

4. Many close October to Easter. Where do we stop overnight then?

What is needed is somewhere safe to stop overnight and every three or four days, to empty the waste water tanks – grey from sink, shower and black from cassette toilet – and to fill up with fresh water. And that is the problem in Scotland. The facilities for campervans are poor, though some communities have seen the opportunity eg Findhorn and Hawick, and created ‘Aires’

We tend to go to mainland Europe for 6 to 8 weeks a year, particularly France, Belgium and Germany, because these countries welcome campervans and provide dedicated facilities usually within easy walking distance of a town/village/city centre. And costs of these facilities tend to be low because they recognise and value the campervan income received by shops, cafes, bars etc.

The staycation experience has really wakened us up to how poorly catered for campervanners are in the UK. Things are improving, Highland for example, but our home city Aberdeen has nothing. I am in dialogue with Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council about improvements and it is something they are looking at.

I am also a volunteer campaigner with CAMpRA, a private company limited by guarantee without share capital, not for profit, with almost 26000 members and a strong leadership team. See here:

https://find-and-update.company-informa ... y/13405866

Basically we campaign for a network of Aires. You will find lots of details here:
Campaign for Real Aires UK - CAMpRA

and if you then click on Business Hub you will find lots of information on what is involved in creating an Aire.

I am not sure how Visit Scotland links in with local authority tourism departments or even if they have one?
I am also well aware of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund but that is not an option for large communities like Aberdeen city?

I’m sorry for the length of this email and I’m happy to chat on phone if you have any queries.

It would be great if Visit Scotland could support CAMpRA and try to influence the development of Aires. Provide the facilities and campervans will visit and if we can become campervan friendly I’m sure you’ll find French, German, Dutch, Belgian campervanners arriving in greater numbers.

Just for interest Canterbury, Kent has had an Aire for many years. See attachment.

I’m also writing to your Perth & Kinross colleague

Yours sincerely

Arthur Davidson

(now resident in Perth)

Tel xxxxxxxxxx
pauls59@yahoo.co.uk
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Re: Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire

Post by pauls59@yahoo.co.uk »

Scottish Natural Heritage Visitor Centre St Cyrus Aberdeenshire DD10 0AQ

Application for Upgrade and Extension of Existing Car Park Including Installation of Chemical Toilet Disposal Unit and Electrical Vehicle Charging Point

Reference APP/2020/1957
Alternative Reference 100311981-001
Application Received Tue 06 Oct 2020
Application Validated Wed 07 Oct 2020
Address Scottish Natural Heritage Visitor Centre St Cyrus Aberdeenshire DD10 0AQ
Proposal Upgrade and Extension of Existing Car Park Including Installation of Chemical Toilet Disposal Unit and Electrical Vehicle Charging Point
Status Decided
Decision Approved
Decision Issued Date Wed 09 Dec 2020

Plan of Upgrade attached, with the CDP circled in yellow, at entrance to Reserve Office Area.

The plan map shows 6 parking bay dimensions:
70 x Standard 2.75 x 5m.
4 x Accessible parking bays (EV)
2.5x5m with 1.2m wide access zone.
Sheffield cycle stands
0.715m long with 1m spacing.
1 x Coach parking bay. 2.6x 12.2m.
3 x Minibus parking bay
2.75x7m with 1.2m wide accesd zone.
2 x Horse box parking bay.
2.75x5m plus 2.75x 5m for horsebox.
11 x overflow parking bays.
NO DEDICATED MOTORHOME parking bays.
The 38 standard parking bays in the Summer parking Area will have a HEIGHT BARRIER installed at the entrance.
Attachments
scottish National Natyre Reserve upgrade Plans.pdf
(3.63 MiB) Downloaded 14 times
P Simpson
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Re: Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire

Post by arthur49 »

A follow up email I sent to Cllr Marie Boulton today:

""Good afternoon Marie
I've just had a conversation with someone with tourism knowledge - nothing to do with Aberdeen City - who tells me that campervan facilities require electric hook ups.
In case there is wider misunderstanding of this, campervan facilities DO NOT need electric hook ups (thats a caravan park!). It makes campervan provision simpler and cheaper which must be good for the budget!
I'm not sure if Council Officers are aware of this crucial cost/simplification fact?
Regards
Arthur"
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Re: Aberdeenshire - St Cyrus

Post by arthur49 »

St Cyrus NNR

Don't want to usurp your good work Paul and Gary, but this is something I received today from Therese Alamo, Reserve Manager - I queried something on their FB page and she messaged me. Seems to be 3 spaces for campervans and with CDP its a 'must visit' for us when complete:

"Work started today so very limited parking until completion. Overnight stays when open will be a donation, one night stay only so we don't take business from local sites but allow folk to experience the magic of the reserve 🙂"

Arthur
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Re: Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire

Post by Steve »

Sounds like a perfect compromise 1 night stays.
Steve - CAMpRA Leadership Team
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Re: Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire

Post by Grey Wanderer »

Grand wee spot. We stayed there a few years back during Xmas period when the wardens were away. Became unofficial toilet cleaner. Despite plenty of signs appealing for people to brandish the plentiful toilet brushes and cleaning materials one supposedly respectable gentleman decided to walk away leaving behind a state of affairs that should not be seen by human eyes. And he was not alone in this…car drivers all of them.
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