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Oban’s beachside car park at Ganavan is turning into campervan central on a night.
Up to ten campervans were counted at the Argyll and Bute Council-run car park earlier this week after a free night’s stay and despite official signs saying it is not allowed.
On Monday morning, a campervan that had been left parked up rolled back off the car park until it was half dangling off onto the beach, luckily no one was hurt.
Although the town welcomes visitors with open arms, illegally parked up campervans are causing rumblings.
Among those concerned is Mike Tye, whose family has owned Roseview Carvan park at Glenshellach for 35 years.
‘I get very frustrated by it and have done for years. It’s been going on a longtime and is only going to get worse. These campers are taking up space in the town. They are congesting the place when sites like us have plenty of room. We’re busy but we do have space, no one is being turned away. The only reason I can think of is that they don’t want to spend the money. If everyone parked up in car parks we would have no campsite,’ said Mr Tye.
And he added: ‘Some people even have the audacity to stop by ask if they can just give us a bit of money to get water and empty their waste here but I say no way because it would only encourage them!’
Another man who runs a business near the beach in Oban but asked not to be named said: ‘Some of these vehicles cost £60,000 but the occupants are too tight to fork out a few pounds for a proper campsite. Instead they ignore parking rules and get free water and electricity at the expense of Oban ratepayers. We welcome these visitors to our town but wish they’d play fair and put a bit of money into local pockets.’
An Argyll and Bute spokesperson said: ‘Tourism plays an important role in Argyll and Bute’s economy so we welcome visitors and encourage them to respect our beautiful countryside by camping responsibly. We ask them to support our local camp sites which offer facilities to make the holiday more comfortable and provide the safe disposal of waste from campervans.
‘People are welcome to park their vehicles at Ganavan, but there must be no residential use of the car park between the hours of 11pm and 7am. We have issued fixed penalty notices in this area, but it can be very difficult to prove that someone has actually slept in their vehicle overnight. We will continue to monitor the car park and carry out patrols.’
Oban councillor Roddy McCuish said he was disappointed that some campervans were ignoring parking regulations.
‘Unfortunately people don’t want to pay. If they can get away with it, they won’t part with any money. We can’t force them to use campsites but we can’t have them staying overnight in car parks for free either, it isn’t fair.
‘I would ask people to do the right thing, if there are regulations please stick to them. Treat Oban as you would like others to treat your home town.’
As well as at Ganavan, campervans are also parking up for the night in lay-bys including those towards Kilninver and out towards Seil. Other hot spots have been along the esplanade outside hotels, the car park at Mossfield and next to McCaig’s Tower.
On Tralee beach, mounds of earth have now been piled up at several points stopping vehicle access onto the machair and sands.
Out of town, Taynuilt has also experiencing problems with campers near the pier and beach and so is Loch Awe along the shore at Kilchrenan, where branches from trees and wood from fences are being cuts for fires, according to recent Facebook posts.