Gwynedd Council has approved plans to set up six pilot ‘Aires’ sites in the area that would allow motorhomes to stay overnight in up to six existing council-run car parks.

A report had previously recommended the Council to consider setting up these pilot sites to provide motorhomes with basic facilities for an overnight stay.

The scheme will cost around £100,000 to set up, and it is hoped the first of the sites will be open by spring 2023.

Councillor Gareth Wyn Griffith, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Gwynedd has become a very popular destination for visitors in motorhomes over the years, and there is a noticeable increase in the number of people who own these vehicles.”

“It is clear that national legislation going back to the 1960s needs to take account of this developing field. It is necessary to question whether the legislation is now fit for purpose, and we will therefore be sending the findings of our research to the Welsh Government and call on them to urgently review the legislation.”

“We have also sought views and are very grateful for the responses – the comments presented have highlighted the desire for better management of the situation.”

“Due to this growing popularity, we as a Council are keen to consider how best to manage the situation for the future. We have carried out detailed research including considering how other parts of Europe manage the field.”

“As part of the next steps, the Cabinet has supported recommendations for us to pilot similar arrangements to how other areas across Europe manage the sector.”

“We aim to use parts of some of the Council’s car parks for the provision of overnight accommodation for motorhomes as a pilot project. This will allow us to see if this arrangements better manage the situation, and to consider whether it would help us to  have better management in the county in the future. Now that the Cabinet has given its backing, work will proceed to secure the relevant rights before any developments.”

Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, has said the scheme had been considered as motorhome owners were staying in areas where they had “no legal right to sleep in a vehicle overnight”.

He said: “We are aware that there are arrangements in some other parts of Britain and continental Europe where motorhomes stay legally overnight in designated areas of public car parks and sites that have been specially provided for motorhomes.”

“The Council’s message throughout this period is for people who choose to visit Gwynedd to be calm, plan ahead and treat our communities with respect. We know that the needs and travel pattern of motor home owners can be different from people coming here in a caravan or camping in a tent.”

Thomas added that the pilot is aiming to encourage visitors to spend their money locally to “offer an element of economic benefit to the local community”, while he also hopes it will provide “better management of the sector”. 

Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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