SBC Car parks

Dumfries and Galloway
Ayrshire (including Arran)
Lanarkshire
Scottish Borders
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Biggarmac
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SBC Car parks

Post by Biggarmac »

Scottish Borders Council have signs in all of their car parks, except Hawick, banning overnight parking. If you live in the Scottish Borders can you please contact your local councillor to explain about the benefits of motorcaravan parking. Sending them the strategy document is a good start. If you know the councillor personally speaking to them first usually works well.
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Re: SBC Car parks

Post by Steve »

I would also send the report on Hawick available in resource/document files
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Re: SBC Car parks

Post by Biggarmac »

The car park at Hawick is a SBC one. It is the local business group "welcome to Hawick" who have lobbied to have the aire on the Haughs car park. As Steve sayes send the Hawick report (which is in files) when you approach councillors.
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Re: SBC Car parks

Post by hcorcoran »

Jedburgh is a particularly good town to look into. Always had plenty of Motorhomes in the car park but no idea if they allowed overnight in the past. The town is definitely desperate for more trade and has so much to see - castle, abbey, Mary Queen of Scots house to name but a few and right on the main Newcastle to Edinburgh route. I'd also say Langholm, Kelso, Duns and Coldstream.
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Re: SBC Car parks

Post by Steve »

Several templates in resource library that can be used with the support of the report on Hawick.
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Re: SBC Car parks

Post by Grey Wanderer »

Text of email sent today to Scottish Borders Council Leader. Attachments which haven't copied over include photos of Aires in the twin towns, and Stategy and Cumbria Tour Reports....


Dear Councillor Haslam

I am writing to you in your role as Leader of Scottish Borders Council.

I am an Architect, 74, retired after years of travelling the UK and the world designing hospitals. I own a motor caravan, it is for me an essential lifeline. I have for a long time lived with constant chronic pain thanks to degenerate vertebrae, damaged hips and knees and the aftermath of radiotherapy. I can only drive scrunched up in a car for periods of less than an hour. For any longer journeys I must use my van, the more erect driving position of which allows me to go up to two hours in a day and allows me to stop at random when the need arises as I always have my accommodation and sanitation with me. Any longer journeys must be spread in short hops over a number of days. Hence when I travel from my home in the Peak District to visit my son in Scotland, my only UK relative, it takes me a few days each way. With Covid, thanks to age and immunosuppressant medication a motor caravan is now my only safe means of transport and accommodation. In these strange times I am by no means the only elderly or vulnerable visitor to be so reliant on a motor caravan, indeed except in peak seasons elderly people make up the majority of such visitors.

I used to enjoy weaving my way through the Borders by a variety of routes, stopping at some time in most of your delightful towns, staying the night, shopping, visiting pubs, restaurants and takeaways. You can only imagine my dismay to learn that SBC has been erecting signs in all your car-parks banning me from staying. What has happened to the welcoming and liberal Scots? It is sad to see the hostile environment from south of the border creeping northwards. Especially incongruous to see such a retrograde step in the Borders when the Authorities in the Highlands are doing their best to find ways to arrange facilities to welcome such visitors later in the year. They have already learned that signs and prohibitions only move problems around without solving them. What is lacking is appropriate managed infrastructure resulting from those responsible for Tourism Strategy remaining completely blind to the needs of the motor caravan touring market for so long. This is a burgeoning tourism market that in Europe is valued, welcomed and well catered for.

I can only applaud the community of Hawick and thank them for their enlightened way of welcoming motor caravanners to their town. Something SBC could do well to emulate throughout the Borders.

Hawick
(photo)

What a marvellous opportunity there is for SBC to establish a touring circuit around the Borders towns and Villages, something to attract tourists not drive them away. Every year thousands of UK motor caravan owners escape to Europe where they know they will be welcomed, but so few Europeans, despite their being 2 million motor caravans in Europe, come in the opposite direction. They know only too well by reputation what a hostile and difficult place England is to visit in a motor caravan, it was once believed that if you drove through England into Scotland you would find a welcome…what a disappointment now awaits.

Looking at the facilities available to motor caravan visitors in the European Towns with which the towns of South Borders are twinned starkly highlights the contrast.

Borders, Twin Towns

Jedburgh: Malestroit, France. Aire for 15 vans, 2 motorhome service locations, the local campsite also allows use of their service point by non-residents.

malestroit.jpeg

Kelso, Kelso USA, RV park, 132 vans, all services

Kelso USA.jpeg

Peebles: Hendaye, France, 25 vans, services, €10

Hendaye.jpeg

Innerleithen: Le Nouvion-en-Thiérache, France: Aire, 5 vans at entrance to municipal campsite, 72 hour stay,
Free, access to campsite services

Le Nouvion.jpeg
Nouvion en Thierache 2.jpeg

Duns: Zagan, Poland: Aire 2 vans at museum.

Zagan.jpeg

Because of my concern at the problems and hostilities residents and responsible motor caravanners experienced during the chaotic Staycation of 2020 I joined and soon became a member of the Leadership Group of CAMpRA (Campaign for Real Aires), a rapidly growing group (started by a Scotsman) of now nearly 15000 responsible motor caravanners campaigning for the managed provision of facilities and overnight parking for motor caravan tourist in the UK. I live in a National Park and understand many of the issues of, and as an architect the practicalities of expanding tourism in rural areas, towns and villages.

I attach for your information a copy of our Document ‘Strategy for Sustainable Motor Caravan Tourism in the UK’. This describes the characteristics of the modern fully self contained motorcaravan, its use, needs and patterns of travel, dispels a number of myths, and identifies the economic benefits such tourism brings to local businesses.

CAMpRA are also involved in promoting managed tourist routes for motor caravans. In November I produced among others a report ‘Cumbrian Coastal Tour’ (copy attached), a managed tourist route to help disperse visitors away from the overburdened central Lake District. It has been well received, and Cumbria Tourism are collaborating with the National Park, County and Local Authorities and hope to see some facilities in place for the 2021 season. The Borders could as I mentioned above benefit from such a positive approach.

Regards
Ian Lones
Architect
Eddiey
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Re: SBC Car parks

Post by Eddiey »

After a disappointing tour of the Borders, through finding hardly any parking spaces for campervans, I twice contacted SBC Car Parks. They did reply saying they would pass on my comments.
Living in Northumberland I felt it was a double whammy having two tourist areas joined together and both with a lack of suitable parking as well as overnight parking available, Hawick being the exception.
Jedburgh did previously allow parking but then about 2 years ago changed their policy and banned vehicles over 3tonnes.

I do hope they follow Hawicks lead and provide overnight parking.
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Parking Jedburgh
Parking Jedburgh
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Re: SBC Car parks

Post by Grey Wanderer »

I received a phone call this evening from a very amiable councillor in Jedburgh in reply to my email. His reply:

Don’t broadcast this round the Twittersphere!

He wasn’t even aware of the signs.

They have been put up by council officers following complaints without any consultation or discussion with the council

They get occasional complaints from residents about people with generators and about taking up space in smaller car parks in busy periods. And are regularly pestered by certain campsite owners.

The signs are no better than a sop to the complainers.

Nobody is going to enforce them, least of all the police.

He is not aware of any being backed by TROs, therefore probably unenforceable anyway.

The councillors do not want to deter visitors.

So don't be put off, no harm done if you ignore them, so long as we are all considerate to residents, don’t make noise or leave waste or rubbish, and don’t take up all the space.

Hawick is fortunate owing to community control of the very large car park. Car parks in some other towns are rather more restricted in size.

He really likes the idea of a Motorhome Tourist Circuit round the Borders, and Aires a a great idea. The only problem is paying for them. Councils have absolutely no spare cash. But as I said private land owners could be given encouragement. And with reasonable overnight charges to make them self-sustaining councils could at little cost make the minor changes necessary for using existing areas. But he did suggest if we came up with a proposal they would be glad to support the idea. If we do, he suggested we look at SOSE as they have lots of funding.

Just got a reply from another councillor. He acknowledges the Borders has insufficient infrastructure for motorhomes. He’s prodded officers to look at the documents I sent and come up with a positive response.

And another...likewise.

So not all despair and negativity for once!
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Re: SBC Car parks

Post by Steve »

Good response but we cannot be seen to just ignore signs, we need to get authorised parking, there is little cost if they can pay to erect signs to say no parking they can replace them with signs allowing limited overnight parking.
The best way that councils can help is to fast track planning for Aires or better still accept that parking and sleeping only in a carpark (council or private) is not camping this will make it easy for small businesses and hospitality to allow overnight parking at zero cost to the council.

We must condem any use of generators or external equipment on Aires, maybe send him our documents listing what is acceptable on a CAMpRA Aire.

If they have a particular site in mind then our members will support crowd funding.
If we could turn this around it would be a real result for common sense and a boost to our campaign
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Re: SBC Car parks

Post by Grey Wanderer »

I am proposing sending the following, which should be self explanatory. Any comments before I do. It may be better sent by someone else, preferably Scottish and preferably local. Having established a good rapport with one councillor it may be better I don't appear to be playing 'bad cop' at the same time. Any volunteers?

customeradvice@scotborders.gov.uk

For the attention of council officer responsible for off street car parking policy.

Dear Sirs

Scottish Borders Council: Car Park Signs:
Request for Information


Regarding the signs (See Photo) placed in SBC car parks prohibiting motorhomes and imposing a weight limit of 3 Tonnes, can you please provide the following information:

Who authorised these signs?

Was this measure a result of a council resolution, or an initiative purely by council officers?

Under what Specific Traffic Regulation Order, Bylaw, or other statutory instrument were these particular prohibitions put in place?

And how under lock-down conditions can such document (s) be accessed? (ie: SBC Off Street Parking Orders 2019 have not been put on-line).

Who is responsible for enforcement?

Did proper notification and consultation take place involving residents and other groups likely to be affected? Such as:
Local businesses who use light commercial vans (normally weighing up to 3.5T).
Motor caravan user groups.

What alternative locations were identified or considered for those categories displaced?

Has due consideration been given to the deleterious impact on on the daytime and evening trade of local businesses: pubs, shops, restaurants etc. when preventing Motor Caravan visitors from parking or occupying their vehicles overnight in the affected towns?

Did these prohibitions result from complaints from the public, and if so how many were received, what did they concern, and was evidence provided?

As regards 3 Tonnes weight, this is too vague for a statutory sign under a TRO, hence probably unenforcable. What is intended; Unladen Weight which would allow most light vans of 3.5T GVW, to park; or GVW which would prevent most visitors in light vans or motor caravans from parking even in daytime?

Does the prohibition of sleeping and cooking relate only to the activity “camping” with which it is associated, or is this intended to apply to people in vehicles which with nothing placed outside and no domestic activities outside are actually ‘parking”?

Regards…
Ian Lones
Attachments
SBC sign.JPG
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