Council considers action to halt overnight sleeping in Whitby car parks

Campervans parking in Whitby. Picture by Peter Horbury.
Campervans parking in Whitby. Picture by Peter Horbury.

Action could be on the horizon to tackle people sleeping in motorhomes in Whitby car parks.

A meeting of the borough council’s Leisure Portfolio group will take place next week where a report recommends prohibiting motorhomes and caravan parking on off-street car parks on harbour-owned land.

The summer months have left many local residents furious, with parking areas packed full of camper vans, reducing the number of spaces and hitting local B&Bs, along with camping sites.

In 2013, the council approved prohibiting motorhomes between 11pm and 7am on the following car parks: Pavilion top and drive, West Cliff, Church Street, Endeavour Wharf and the Marina Front.

But this has seen migration to upper harbour car parks, namely the Marina back car park and Whitby Marina users car parks.

And the council has been flooded with complaints during peak periods, including Whitby Goth Weekend, when the majority of the upper harbour car parks, not covered by the prohibition, were full of motorhomes and caravans which were camping overnight.

One Whitby resident likened the scenes to an “American trailer park”. Peter Horbury, who has been calling for action on the issue, added: “There should be a total blanket ban of sleeping camper vans in Whitby’s car park and side streets, including Sandsend straight. All camper vans should be on official camp sites.”

Complaints made to the council include that waste facilities are unable to cope with the demand, as bins are left overflowing, causing environmental issues as seagulls flock to clear up the mess.

There are also concerns that waste water and chemical toilet facilities from these vehicles is not being disposed of correctly. The report says: “The council currently supply fresh water facilities within the surrounding infrastructure for those who pay harbour dues. These facilities are being utilised without authority leading to complaints from bona-fide harbour users and the consequential budgetary impacts.” It adds: “An increasing number of concerns have been received regarding occupants of motorhomes/caravans making attempts to access marina user facilities by following authorised users into the facilities building. Thereby putting additional strain on these facilities, upsetting harbour users (who have paid for the privilege) and an additional budgetary expense in maintaining an expected level of environmental standards.”

The report adds: “As a popular tourist destination there are a number of designated quality caravan and camping sites within Whitby and the surrounding area.

“These approved sites are well provided for and have all the facilities necessary for motorhomes/caravans including the relevant permissions and insurance.

“An amendment to the articles in the order to prohibit motor caravans between 11pm and 7am on the Marina Back and Marina users car park is proposed.”

The idea is to go out for consultation after the report goes before the council’s cabinet.