Call for help to improve facilities for campervans in Argyll and isles

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Love them or loathe them, campervans and mobile homes are becoming a larger part of our local economy, yet owners say facilities do not exist to allow users to offload effluent or hook up to electricity safely.

And community council members in Oban, Mull and Taynuilt say something needs to be done to ensure the facilities available for holidaymakers in motorhomes are at the very best.

David Sloss, chairman of Taynuilt Community Council said: ‘Taynuilt sees a large number of people who holiday on the pier in a campervan.

‘There is a problem with the legal definition of wild camping and a confusion in the minds of some people when it comes to camping in a tent and right to roam, and then there is a further issue in some places with people thinking there is a right to park a campervan or mobile home anywhere.

‘There is an argument for being able to park responsibly where you are not going to cause a disturbance and not leave rubbish.

‘The legislation needs to be reviewed in light of the number of people who overnight camp. In Taynuilt, people have been known to come for much longer periods. Many of the vehicle owners know if the police ask them to move on they will have a period of time to do so – and it is unlikely that they will be charged with an offence.

‘In Taynuilt, we have put signs up that people have turned round and there are continuous concerns about where people offload bins and human waste. But until the government or local authority come up with a plan for dealing with the issue it will go on.’

On Mull, the community council has been dealing with campervans and mobile homes for ‘many years’ and feels dismayed at the lack of success in moving matters forward.

Steve Willis of Mull Community Council said the island was at breaking point, saying: ‘We have been asking the local authority to help us for many years and we just cannot seem to get the help we need to make the stay of these holiday-makers a little bit better.

‘First, we wanted signs to make people aware that some roads on Mull are not suitable for motorhomes or campervans.

‘For example, there is an overhanging rock on the single track road on the way down into Lochbuie.

‘If the van you are travelling in is too big then you simply will not get down the road. If you can’t get past the rock, it is a long way to reverse.

‘Many people who are driving these vehicles have hired them for a holiday or are not used to driving them. In some cases, they simply cannot reverse.

‘One of the site owners on the island approached the council looking for help to install a piece of machinery that would be able to take all the human waste from campervans but so far we have been told it is unlikely to happen.

‘Tobermory car park at Ledaig is often full to overflowing with campervans.

‘Some idyllic places around the island are now completely ruined with toilet rolls after people empty human waste with no thought. I have even seen it thrown into the river at times and that cannot be good for anyone.’

In Oban, there has been a large number of campervans parking on the Esplanade and near the war memorial. Last year, Oban Community Council was told that some people hung their washing on a line tied between the campervan and one of the soldiers.

They have also asked local councillors to look into the matter after the vehicles caused difficulties at beauty spots such as Ganavan and can often stay for long periods.

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘As with all visitors, we welcome campervans and motorhomes to Argyll and Bute – tourism is of huge importance as it significantly benefits our economy.

‘Drivers are entitled to park where they wish. Those using pay and display car parks and taking up two spaces are asked to pay for both.’