Dumfries and Galloway Council are planning to offer grants to set up “Aires” in the region.
Aires are parking facilities that provide motorhome users with basic amenities and a place to stay overnight.
With the number of motorhomes in the UK continuing to rise, it is hoped that introducing Aires will help the region to become a must-visit location and will lead to more visitors coming to the area. In fact, the increase in ‘vans on the road saw as many 250,000 in action in 2020, while 15,000 were registered between September 2020 and August 2021.
An initial pilot scheme was set up in 2021 – here, Kirkcudbright swimming pool received £1,000 to add three overnight spaces, along with electrical points and waste disposal units. Since launching in September, there have been 121 overnight stays, which, when combined with the 31 waste disposals, has provided £1,334 in income and could lead to a potential £5,000-£6,000 each year.
The Economy & Resources (E&R) Committee will now receive a proposal that grants of up to £5,000 are offered per site for both private and community organisations that are looking to create one. No planning permission will be required, as the grant would rely on the spot receiving “Certified Status from organisations such as Motorhome Fun”. These sites would each be able to hold up to five motorhomes.
Chair of the E&R Committee, Rob Davison said: “This is an excellent proposal, and one that proved very popular in our initial trial last year. Tourism is one of our most important economic sectors in our beautiful rural region. The target would be 15 new Aires with an average of 4 bays each creating nearly 22k spaces over a year. Based on Visit Scotland touring figures we would expect an occupancy rate of 41% giving an income to the Aires owners of around £90K. The average tourist to Scotland spends £28 per day in the local economy making a potential extra income into the region of over £500k.”
Vice Chair, Archie Dryburgh said: “Providing Committee agree to the funding, this is a great opportunity for our local small businesses or land owners to make some extra income, and we will help to make this vision a reality, as much as we can. The grant would pay for signage, site markings, site improvements, web design, black and grey water disposal, and lighting, although any lighting or power options would have to be sustainable as part of our commitment to net zero.”
Are you looking for inspiration for where to go on your next tour? If so, be sure to take a look at our guide to the best motorhome sites, where we run through the top spots to visit in the UK. You can also find out more about maximising a trip to the area by taking a trip to in our motorhome travel guide to Scotland.
If you’re looking for a hand with your navigating too, our guide to the best motorhome sat-navs will help you pick out the right one for you.
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The target would be 15 new Aires with an average of 4 bays each creating nearly 22k spaces over a year