THE OWNERS of motorhomes have answered back to criticism at their parking on the West Cliff overnight and during the summer season.
Earlier this month the Gazette exclusively revealed byelaw notices on sign posts saying no sleeping in vehicles between 11pm and 6am were not enforceable due to legal technicalities.
The presence of the vehicles in the town has often been the source of conflict with day trippers and permanent residents saying the huge vehicles take up too much parking space, b&b owners saying they are being deprived of income and touring caravans saying they have to pay to use campsites.
And since the start of the annual folk event last weekend there has been a deluge of motorhomes parking up on the West Cliff.
But the globetrotters said they have motorhomes because of the freedom it allows but there is nowhere else suitable for them to park up and they are still contributing to the local economy.
Iain Harrison from Halifax said: “I have been coming to Whitby for 30 years every year and generally speaking I see Whitby people would like to have razor wire around the edge of the town where tourists come, throw money over the edge and go away.
“Most of the attitudes to visitors reflect that. Businesses would go bust without us but they would rather we weren’t there.
“You have to expect if you live in a place with things going on people will come. We might only spend £200 to £300 but it’s £300 more than if we weren’t here. People that come for a day trip from Teesside won’t spend any money and buy an ice cream if you are lucky.”
Gerry Richardson from Worcestershire is a regular on the folk scene in Whitby and also spends months travelling around the country and Europe in his motorhome.
He has a book listing 1,600 places in France which have been designated for motorhomes and have toilet, electric and water facilities. In the UK there are two.
He added: “It says no stopping but it can’t be enforced and we all know this. Until towns supply us with specific areas we will keep doing what we are doing. It’s not that we particularly want to break the law as we are all responsible citizens.
“If you look where motorhomes go you never find rubbish or litter, we always take it home or dispose of it.
“And if you walk around the town and look at the B&Bs most of them are full. It’s not as if there are vacancies and quite honestly the majority of motorhome owners are retired and can’t afford £60 a night.”
Paul Catton and Julie Brooker from Norwich added that they didn’t want to be in a car park with 40 other motorhomes and they did pay into the town’s economy wherever they went because they eat at local restaurants and had spent £100 on petrol at the local garage.