Motor homes can stay in car parks
RULES are being changed so that motor home owners can park overnight in five Torridge car parks.
Torridge District Council is changing its current regulations, which ban overnight parking in any of its car parks.
From next year motor homes will be allowed to park for £5 between 6pm and 10am for a maximum of two nights.
The five car parks are:
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The Pill car park in Bideford
Churchfield car park in Appledore
Westward Ho! main car park
The Manor Car Park in Holsworthy
Sydney House Car Park in Torrington
The council has reviewed all its parking charges and policies in time to make any changes before the annual parking order renewal comes into effect in March.
Councillor Geoff Lee, the council's lead member for car parks, said: "We are doing what we can for folks. Of course we would like to see all of the car parks free but it is just not possible.
"We hope this will bring extra business into the area because people in motor homes are usually reasonably well off. By using a car park for a night they will likely spend in shops and restaurants.
"Of course there has been concern about any disruption that could be caused. But if the people in the motor homes do start causing any damage enforcement officers will be tasked with asking them to leave."
Paul Phipps, a member of Bideford Chamber of Commerce and landlord of The Kings Arms on The Quay in Bideford, said he thought it was a great idea.
He said: "Bring it on. I think it will hopefully mean people do come in from outside the area and spend money in the town.
"It can only be good for the town. I think it is quite a good move by Torridge."
Mr Phipps also runs a bed and breakfast at the pub but he did not think the move would affect his custom because he believes it is a different type of customer.
But some campsite owners are concerned the move will take business away from them.
Helen Davey, who has run Stoke Barton Farm, near Bideford, for nearly 30 years, said: "It will undoubtedly affect our business because motor homes come to us regularly.
"In August this year we had 60 to 70 families coming in total.
"I have never had a customer who doesn't want to use electricity, so I am not sure how many will want to stay overnight in a car park if they don't have access to water or electric."
Recommendations for changes were compiled in a report by council officers.
The overnight parking of motor homes was one issue addressed after the council received several requests to relax the current restrictions.
North Devon Council has had three car parks for some time which allow motor homes to stay overnight: Seven Brethern Van Park in Barnstaple and Brookdale and Hillsborough in Ilfracombe.