A Moray businessman fears stopping points being created to cope with another summer surge in tourists could become “unofficial caravan parks” without proper controls.
Moray Council is planning five locations for motorhomes and caravans to empty chemical toilets and drop rubbish in response to a large increase in visitors last year.
The sites in Burghead, Craigellachie, Portknockie, Portgordon and Ballindalloch will have bins and toilets and have staff assigned to keep them tidy.
However, Colin Fraser, who runs Strathlene Caravan Park near Buckie, has concerns the free stopping points across Moray will be overwhelmed with tourists unless there are proper controls.
‘Parking controls needed at free stopping points’
Moray Council says signs will be put up to inform visitors of capacity limits – but added that it will be up to the police to enforce them.
Mr Fraser, who is also chairman of the Grampian and Tayside branch of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, said: “I wouldn’t blame people for wanting to use them if they’re free – that’s just the way it is.
“What worries me is that these locations will be sign-posted for people to use so they don’t leave rubbish elsewhere.
“The rationale from motorhome owners is they want to park at the roadside, car park, or somewhere like that. We’ve got a car park across the road from Strathlene and I see people do it.
“What worries me is that there will be people parking around these stopping places whether they can or can’t. I don’t know how they will stop them.
“The new stops will not in any way whatsoever stop the problem with motorhomes wild parking, it is more likely to encourage it.”
Improvements planned in Moray ahead of another summer staycation surge
Concerns about some anti-social wild camping putting pressure on rural communities have been reported across Scotland during the coronavirus pandemic.
In Moray campaigners in Findhorn have submitted planning documents to control the number of motorhomes allowed at the village beach car park.
Meanwhile, plans are also being prepared to expand the coastal car park at Hopeman and other popular destinations in the future.
Moray Council says it is planning to make improvements in time for the summer at the five stopping places, with staff assigned to maintain them.
A spokeswoman said: “We’re responsibly preparing for an increase in demand for stopovers as people look to take staycations as restrictions ease, and to mitigate against any complaints regarding waste disposal in particular.
“We’re improving infrastructure to allow safe and hygienic stopovers by introducing chargeable waste disposal points.
“In these locations, as well as Lossiemouth, we’re improving parking surfaces, improving signage and toilet facilities where applicable. These sites will have signage installed to indicate capacity and we encourage all motorists to use the site respectfully and responsibly.
“We will have mobile staff to service areas and handle issues which crop up, and any dangerous or illegal on-street parking will be a police enforcement issue.”
Last week, details emerged about the preparations being made to increase the number of public toilets and parking spaces at Highland tourism hotspots ahead of an anticipated influx of visitors this summer.
Cairngorm National Park Authority (CNPA), Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) outlined plans in dealing with the hordes that are expected to descend once travel restrictions are eased on April 26.
Bosses at CNPA have revealed they are adding to their seasonal rangers, who are going back out on patrol on April 2.
There is also a new roadside path being provided from the Loch Morlich beach car park to Glenmore Lodge turn-off.
A 30mph speed limit is being introduced in Glenmore, and there will also be four road-slowing features.