Stoney anger over camper van parking

Camper vans are parking overnight on Stonehaven's promenade. Reader's photograph.
Camper vans are parking overnight on Stonehaven's promenade. Reader's photograph.

Council officials are arranging a meeting with residents amid a row over camper vans on Stonehaven’s promenade.

Locals are angry that motorhome owners are continuing to park on the seafront.

The long-running problem was tackled last year when Aberdeenshire Council put up signs warning against overnight stops. But the notices went missing and the problem returned - now there are calls for the council to take action.

Stonehaven resident Allan Sutherland said there had been improvement after the signs went up.

He said: “Previously there had been as many as 10 camper vans parked overnight, some staying for several days.

“The number reduced immediately as the responsible caravanners took heed of the notices and either booked into the caravan site - or found somewhere else.

“Then the signs started to disappear, the vans returned and we were once again treated to the sight of the most brazen campers laying out their tables and chairs on the pavement for their evening meal.”

Mr Sutherland added: “The main argument against these huge vans is not tourism but emergency access to Cowie and - ironcally - the caravan park. On busy days the road would be impassable to a fire engine or ambulance.

“It’s only a few years since the annual traveller invasions were halted and there is a concern that travellers will also be encouraged to return.”

Community councillors are due to discuss the issue next month.

Kincardine and Mearns area manager William Munro said: “We’re aware of local concerns about the increasing numbers of motorhomes stopping informally overnight on the promenade and are looking at ways to address these.

“We’ve arranged a meeting with residents and other stakeholders so we can have an open discussion about ways to minimise local disruption while continuing to promote Stonehaven as an attractive destination for visitors.

“The replacement of the signage may be one option we look at, but we hope the discussion will generate additional ideas for consideration.”

Stonehaven and Lower Deeside Councillor Sarah Dickinson said: “This issue is about balance of amenity and finding a solution that will be respected by motorhome owners visiting the town.

“I pressed for the signage that was put up last summer along the links indicating no overnight parking but it was removed and not by the council.

“In short, we need to find a sustainable and workable solution that respects the interests of all involved. It will not be easy but I am aware of council efforts to bring the affected parties together to find that positive way forward.”