Sunday, May 05, 2013

"Should councils provide free caravan and motorhome parking?"

The Motor Home and Caravan services blog asks the question that we have made the title of this post, he goes on to write: "The vast majority of people tend to use caravan sites for their overnight stays but finding somewhere to park when you are travelling between sites can cause all kinds of issues. Sadly , the only viable option for many is to roll up to the nearest out of town supermarket, as it's the only place to park, and spend their money within their walls."

In Nairn there are a few pitches available at Parkdean Lochloy but during the peak months they rapidly fill up, there are other facilities nearby and basically it is all left to the private sector. Quite often people will just park overnight in town and are generally left alone to get on with it. And as the Caravan blogger says: "Generally speaking the caravan and motorhome fraternity tend to be a grand group of folks who are not only prepared to spend up to tens of thousands of pounds on good equipment but also a considerable amount when they are on their travels." 

Should we do more to keep these kind of visitors overnight? In France a lot of towns and villages have free areas for such holiday makers to park up and sometimes there is free electricity and water provided. The idea being that the visitors' contribution to the local economy is a net gain. Below is a picture of the car park at the Mont St Michael. The vans in the picture below mostly stayed there overnight with no hassle from the authorities. Many will have cooked their own meals (with food perhaps purchased locally) and others would perhaps eaten in many of the restaurants nearby. Would this type of facility be possible in Nairn? 

Our fellow local blog suggests: "It's a shame that we have to witness all of that spending potential just driving through our towns, only to end up on some soulless retail park, and further adding to the massive profits of the national retailers who operate there." 

Well if they stopped at Sainsbury's they would of course be helping to keep local people in a job regardless of where the profits from that business go. Point taken however, could we find a way to make Nairn a lot more caravan and motor home friendly? More on the Motor home and Caravan service blog here. 


hmacs said...

Your comment about Sainsbury's is quite valid Gurnmeister but mainly because it is (unusually) close enough to the town for folks to park there and walk in to the High Street or down to the harbour.

How the management would feel about that though, I’m not so sure..

When it come to accommodating those wanting to stay overnight Parkdena effectively turned their back on the touring and camping sector when they chose to site static caravans on 90% of their camping fields some years ago, so the Camping and Caravanning club site at Delnies Wood gets the bulk of the business and is well liked by those that use it.

Nairn is quite lucky in having the Links car park, which has enough space to park a motorhome or caravan , it’s easily accessible from the A96 and the town centre is only a five minute walk away. If a dedicated provision could be created though, with water and waste disposal available, the number of people choosing to stop in the town would increase substantially.

All of these people have to eat though and enjoy doing holiday types things and Nairn could take the lead in ensuring that the town became the chosen spot to stop, eat and shop.

Perhaps we should consider taking it a step further and setting up something similar to the French ‘Aires de Service’ or the German ‘Stellplatz’ , where basic servicing provision and an overnight parking space is made available. The Harbour would be good and it might discourage the boy racers.

At least it would if you could ensure an obstacle course type parking arrangement…..

hitch-hiker said...

Some sort of welcoming facility for campervans and caravans to park and stop in town would win Nairn a lot of brownie points among that important group of visitors (who would indeed bring business to the town).

Designated and dedicated parking bays (suitably signposted) in the new expanded town-centre parking area would be a visitor-friendly move.

But where better to encourage such passing holidaymakers to park (though not perhaps overnight) than the former bus-station site? Clear the derelict building, and rearrange the parking area, and visitors could then be within easy reach of all the amenities and services of the town.

Anonymous said...

A visiting boat was recently charged £20 to stay overnight at the Highland Council owned Nairn Harbour. No facilities other than a pontoon to moor to. Maybe the caravan and motorhome should extend to the harbour, all visitors will spend money in the town

Graisg said...

I believe that local folk that have boats in the harbour pay considerable yearly sums for their berths too so £20 in this instance probably isn't too bad.

Brian Turner said...

There are a couple of free-standing taps providing water on the links already.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that any such facility would soon be used frequently by members of the travelling fraternity and not tourists. As it would not be possible to restrict usage by such persons,I am in no doubt that their presence would bring associated problems and negate the original intended use and benefits of any such facility ! Good idea but not fully thought through.

Anonymous said...


My point was that if there were to be an initiative to encourage tourists to Nairn who have their own mobile accommodation (caravan, camper van, or boat) then it would be easy for Highland Council to encourage visiting boats to the harbour by offering a free or reduced night's berth. If the scheme were successful then maybe improved facilities could be looked at.

For the moment the visitor's births at the harbour are pretty much empty for most of the year so it's not as though much revenue would be lost though such an initiative

Sheena Baker said...

As a motorhome user and a resident of Nairn, I have raised this subject on several ocassions at Partnership and community council meetings.I have also mentioned that in recent years there have been some superb articles praising Nairn for it's location and the Delnies site. Those interested should look at the recent MMM magazine article on the Morayshire area where Nairn is included towards the end and mentioned at length. It may have been extracted to the "visit Nairn" web site. Just to get the motorhomes and caravans stopping for a break would be a start. To do this all that is needed is some good road signage alerting the driver to the availability of a day stopping point in the town.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I must agree with anon at 10.24, I believe a similar scheme was trialed some years ago in Lancashire and attracted numerous travellers and new age hippy types. Following court action to evict, the scheme was abandoned. Shame really but very difficult in law to control or restrict certain types or groups of users.

hitch-hiker said...

Two different ideas are at risk of getting confused in this discussion. Justified concerns about long-stay travellers should not become a reason to discourage short-stay visitors.

There seems no reason to object to short stops by day-visitors. Providing convenient and free in-town parking for campervans and caravanners who want to stop briefly, shop, look around, eat, or go to the beach is a sensible and useful strategy for a town that wants to appeal to tourists and seeks to persuade them to spend money locally.

Overnight or longer stays are however problematic. There is a proper site at Delnies already. Setting up an area in town (or eg at the Links) which provides "facilities" such as water and power hookups implies longer-term, or at least overnight stays. As some have commented, managing and controlling who uses such a site, and for how long, could be be fraught with problems.

The question is - who is likely to be able and willing to do something about this? Even getting a roadsign changed seems to take years. Are our Councillors able to propose and deliver initiatives such as this?

Anonymous said...

How do you propose to enforce "short stops" ? by those "visitors" of a mind to remain for a few days and leave their associated rubbish and junk on departure. Not a police matter and not currently legislated for. Rely on goodwill, I think NOT !

Caravan Marketplace said...

Yes and no.

Yes for short term storage (for visitors and tourists), no for long term storage ie locals who own caravans that want to store them for free. Private companies providing caravan storage cater for this. The council would only be underminding these kind of companies offering free long term storage.

Anonymous said...

I thought that common sense would prevail here. Mainland Europe gets a huge amount of revenue from from motorhomers over there. You look after the land councillors and narrow minded anon above (mr I think not!) needs to broden his horizons and stop looking after just a few? business's

Auntymacassa said...

We love Nairn but we travel on to Evanton, Skiach Services, where overnight parking is free, so the restaurant there and all other local amenities get our money. Plus the scenery is to die for!

Anonymous said...

'There are a couple of free-standing taps providing water on the links already'

Thats really going to make me want to stay in Nairn for the night