St Albans. Mail to our local MP Daisy Cooper. (sent June 13, 2021)

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PeterB
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St Albans. Mail to our local MP Daisy Cooper. (sent June 13, 2021)

Post by PeterB »

Hello Daisy,

I write to you as a resident of St Albans,

As we are hopefully now in the beginning of the end of the pandemic, which I appreciate is clearly a priority for you, I would like to draw your thoughts to the broader topic of how we can assist the St Albans local economy to recover.

High Street, retail and hospitality have clearly suffered as is evident by the number of closed outlets in the city. With that in mind, I would like to say that in my view, and that of the majority whom I converse with there is support in the most part for maintaining the pedestrianisation around town at George St and High Street. Hopefully this will become permanent and see the development of a vibrant and sustainable “cathedral quarter” supporting local business and artists in addition to traditional retail and historical tourist attractions.

I’ll get to the point.

I am a member of several national motorhome groups - CAMpRA (which has over 12,000 members) and Motorhome groups in the UK. 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 locations of historical interest and culture such as 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.

THE ISSUE -> 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 researched 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 most notable benefit is that of their contribution to the local economy.

A drive around our area has prompted potential locations for overnight parking/sleeping, eg Westminster Lodge and also the Roman Museum car park next to the park. Both of these locations are close to ring road but importantly, are within a few minutes walk of the city centre.

Additionally, service areas could be set up in Retail Parks, Industrial Estates, Car Washes, Supermarkets, Petrol Stations, or even Garden Centres which typically have large parking areas.

There are multiple 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'
Totness and Dartmouth 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 our Facebook group (free) https://www.facebook.com/groups/campra.uk or our website https://www.campra.org.uk

I should be grateful if you would consider a meeting with some of my motorhoming friends and me - we have much more information that could help you and we have lots of networking opportunities for promoting tourism to our area. It really is a 'Win/Win ' situation.

Kind Regards
Peter
PeterB
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Re: St Albans. Mail to our local MP Daisy Cooper. (sent June 13, 2021)

Post by PeterB »

Update. My local MP responded and has provided the names of the specific people i need to contact. That'll be my next step. Fingers crossed.
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