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‘Tension’ builds as motorhome owners take advantage of free parking in Newry, Mourne and Down

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A councillor is urgently calling on Newry, Mourne and Down (NMD) District Council to help prevent motorhome owners from taking advantage of the free parking in the district.

Sinn Fein councillor Willie Clarke said motorhome owners “were opting to use car parks and other locations for overnight stays in Newcastle, Co Down”.

In a motion brought before a full council meeting, Cllr Clarke’s motion called for the NMD Council to develop a motorhome strategy.

Cllr Clarke said there had been growing signs of “tension” between local residents and motorhome users in recent weeks.

The full motion read: “With the ever increasing numbers of motorhome owners opting to use car parks and other locations for overnight stays in Newcastle, Council acknowledges the signs of tension that are now growing between local residents and motorhome users.

“Council recognises that freedom camping has become unsustainable at some key areas, In turn this is placing operational and environmental pressure on visitor attractions originally designed for day time recreational use only.

“Council developed a motorhome strategy for Newry Mourne and Down Council region, encompassing Newry and the main towns and villages.”

Meanwhile, new research has revealed that Northern Ireland has more motorhomes per head of population than any other part of the UK.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is the 7th highest place across the 11 council districts that showed an increase in demand for motorhome holidays, with a 60% surge recorded.

The research, from CompareNI.com, shows a whopping 84% increase in the demand for insurance cover for holidaymakers on the move in the first five months of 2021.

The motion was referred and will be heard at the Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism committee on August 9.

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