Motorhomes row set to rumble on

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THE row over motorhomes in Whitby is set to rumble on as council officers do a u-turn on creating designated parking areas for them.

Senior borough councillors are due to agree a set of proposals at a meeting on Tuesday that would ban motorhomes from certain off street car parks in Whitby – but doesn’t provide an alternative space for them.

The ban will come into force from 1 January and sees motorhomes prohibited from parking at Pavilion top and Pavilion drive, West Cliff, Church Street, Endeavour Wharf and Marina Back between the hours of 11pm and 7am.

It is being done via changes to a traffic regulation order under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and will also make it easier to enforce legislation which bans sleeping in vehicles during these hours.

When a Parking Review Group was set up earlier this year to look into the increasing problems surrounding motorhomes parking in the town and causing congestion by the amount of space they take up, it had been suggested that a designated area with an overnight charge for parking might be introduced.

In Whitby, an area of land behind the Co-op was being looked at but officers are now dismissing the suggestion because a change of use and planning permission would be required and there is also a fear that establishing a motorhome park would set a precedent and risk blighting the town.

In his report, SBC’s head of tourism and culture Brian Bennett said: “Members have previously considered this option however it was felt that there were sufficient official sites within the borough that welcomed motor caravans and there was not a need for a facility specifically for motor caravans.

“The policy is very specific and states that permission will not be granted for new sites. The rationale behind this policy was the view that there were sufficient sites and pitches available in the borough at that time, and that further provision could begin to erode the character of the area.”

The ban is not being applied to all car parks but SBC has said if the problem of motorhome parking shifts elsewhere it will make other parking ban orders.

Local councillors have been fielding complaints from members of the public, local residents and the owners of the town’s b&bs for some time about the presence of motorhomes and the impact they were having.

But enforcement of the old signs was deemed ineffective because of the difficulty in proving people were actually sleeping in vehicles and the signs.

The ban has attracted criticism and 15 letters of objection with motorhome users saying it is discriminatory and is affecting their freedom to come and go when they want and that it will encourage them to shop out of town.