Statement from Fife Coast and Countryside Trust
“Robert Burns once wrote “The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley” and it could sum up the challenges we’ve faced in providing overnight parking facilities and how things have progressed since 2020 (See New Motorhome Overnight Parking Provision Fife).
Covid-19 and the rise of the staycation has greatly increased visitors to Fife including those in motorhomes. FCCT opted to adopt a phased approach, first providing free overnight parking coupled with display of revised carpark operating procedures. All those using the carparks (motorhomes, cars, vans etc) at Elie Ruby Bay and Kingsbarns now enter into a contractual agreement summarised below:
- Vehicles parked, stopped, or waiting in the signed disabled zone must always display a valid disabled badge face up inside the front windscreen.
- Between the hours of 07:00 to 20:00 the carpark is open to any vehicle that is taxed, with valid insurance and up to date MOT certificate or equivalent.
- Between the hours of 20:00 to 07:00 any vehicle that is taxed, has valid insurance and up to date MOT certificate or equivalent is permitted to park in the designated overnight parking bays. No vehicle should be parked out with a designated bay during the hours of 20:00 to 07:00.
We provided 8 overnight parking bays for Kingsbarns and 7 for Elie Ruby Bay advising that failure to follow the rules (a contractual obligation) could be a breach of statuary legislation. As operators of the carpark, we have a duty of care for all and wanted the scheme to work thus meeting the expectations of all stakeholders. For the period April - September 2021, overnight parking consistently exceeded the number of overnight bays provided, and at weekends and during holiday periods, overnight numbers regularly exceeded 30 vehicles at each site.
Our staff engaged with visitors by providing advisory leaflets giving guidance and issued 103 Parking Infringement Notices that had no fines but explained the problems of parking without permission. No motorhome was moved on, but we did ask visitors to comply with the spirit of the rules and outlined the reasons for having them in place. For our staff, it was good to have the opportunity to engage with members of the motorhome community as it provided a different prospective. It also gave us the opportunity to highlight the many challenges we face as mangers of the countryside in these specific locations.
The good news is that there seems to be momentum and will for the UK to catch up with other countries in relation to the provision of overnight parking. At a local level, Fife Coast & Countryside Trust are endeavouring to embrace and develop facilities in line with this aspiration. In 2022 we are looking to develop existing sites and increase the number of locations where overnight parking facilities are provided for a small overnight fee."