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Calls to tighten rules to stop lay-by camping in Cornwall

Aug 2 2012 Posted by Laura Canning

Councillors in West Cornwall are being urged to tighten the county’s parking rules after it was spotted that some caravanners are staying overnight in lay-bys for free.

The recent good weather has seen thousands of people take to the road for a UK break, bringing relief to campsite and caravan park owners who saw takings plummet during the heavy rain that covered most of the country in June and July.

But some park owners in Cornwall say they are still losing out, because of the county’s relaxed parking restrictions that permit caravans and campervans to park overnight without charge. One site owner in Marazion said she had spotted over 50 vans in one evening alone, and added that her takings so far this summer are down 60 per cent.

Marazion councillor Su Nicolas has been involved in discussions on free caravan parking in Cornwall for the past 18 months. She said she has received complaints from residents about the issue, especially about litter being dropped on the beach.

‘I do have a great deal of sympathy with all the campsite owners in the area,’ she said.

‘These people are disposing of waste on the beach and on the RSPB site. We have had about 30 complaints from members of the public.’

However, some caravanners have hit back at the assumption they are all irresponsible, with one campervan owner saying on BBC Cornwall’s Facebook page: ‘I have a VW camper, and when I go away for the night to a gig, I will park anywhere I please.

‘I do not litter, nor create any problems, I also will not move unless the police threaten arrest. I am fully aware of what I can and cannot do.’

A statement by Ludgvan Parish Council said it agreed that there should be restricted times for  parking and no overnight parking, but that councillors do not want to see free parking ended as a whole. 

The issue will be debated at the next Ludgvan Parish Council meeting on 8 August.