Letter: Keyhaven parking charges decision is barmy
SIR – The decision to impose parking charges at Keyhaven to deter campervans (A&T, 11th December) is barmy, and a classic example of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, as well as a great illustration of how to respond to canvassing public opinion (10 for it, 17 against).
There are now over 350,000 campervans registered in the UK, many of which are owned by retirees (like myself) who have money to spend in the local community, and wish nothing more than a quiet spot in which to park overnight, while spending our money in local hostelries and businesses – particularly important in the ‘staycation’ culture we are living in.
Our continental friends in France, Germany, Spain and Italy have a huge network of sites (‘aires’ in France) where campervan owners can park, sleep, replenish their water supplies and dispose of waste for a small fee, and often free of charge. They then benefit the local economy by patronising restaurants and cafes, and shopping locally.
Campervan owners are overwhelmingly a considerate bunch. We have our own toilets and washing facilities, we do not need to set up tables or awnings (we are not campers!) and we like, if possible, to leave a site in a cleaner condition than that in which we found it.
If we had sites where we could top up with fresh water and empty our toilet waste, we would be more than happy to pay £5-£10 per night for the privilege of staying there, and supporting the local economy.
Would it not be a better approach if New Forest District Council applied charges with a facility for overnight stops for an extra fee?
Upgrading the water and waste facilities to an ‘aire’ standard would be a cost-effective way of ensuring extra income in the future. This would deter the travellers and the nuisance campers, and could even increase local security with the overnight presence of responsible people.
Surely a win-win situation?