ENNISKILLEN is “missing a trick” with no town-centre facilities for motorhome users, with calls for the Council to team up with a private operator to provide the much-needed facilities.
The Council recently put up signs at Enniskillen Castle, stating that overnight stays were not allowed. This comes after the council had received a number of complaints from local caravan site operators who were concerned that allowing motorhomes to stay in the town’s free car parks were discouraging them from using their sites.
However, just as the ‘Herald has been contacted by concerned locals about the issue, the Council said it too had been contacted by motorhome owners, who said they add important value to the town’s local economy.
The Council said it does not want to discourage motorhome users from using its free car parks, but noted regulations and restrictions did not allow overnight stays in such car parks.
In a report, it stated one option available was to allow overnight stays at areas where there is already basic services for boating, such as at the Round O in the town, and at Carrybridge, Galloon and other areas around the county.
It said it had been speaking with some private operators about working in partnership on the facilities, however interest to date had been limited.
Cllr Paul Blake said the best option would be for a private operator to work with the Council to provide the facilities.
“The Council does need to examine the prospect of having a facility for motorhome users. It’s a growing trend now and we need to be receptive,” he said.
“But we also need to be respectful as well of the small businesses who do operate these caravan and motorhome parks, who do have vacancies at the minute. They are trying to run a business and trying to keep people employed, in a very difficult time.”
Cllr Blake believes allowing motorhome users to stay in the town would be a boost for local bars, shops and restaurants.
Manager of Enniskillen BID, Noelle McAloon, agreed that bringing more visitors to the town would be much welcome by local businesses.
She urged private operators locally to seriously consider the option of taking on the Council contract.
“We are missing a trick, and I think there is room for everyone,” she said. “It would be welcomed if a private operator would come in.”
Ms McAloon added that while many motorhome users liked to be out enjoying rural Fermanagh, some liked to be more central.
“We know some people like to park up within walking distance of the town, and go in, have a meal and have a few drinks. You can’t do that if you have your motorhome parked six miles outside the town.”
When contacted by the ‘Herald, the Council said campervans were “welcome to fee-paying, non-fee paying, or indeed tourist amenity sites in the district for day-time parking in order to shop/eat or enjoy the tourist offerings.”
“Restrictions apply to overnight campervan parking which is not permitted at these locations, as they do not comply with legislative requirements, and associated control conditions,” said a spokesman.
“The Council have no plans to provide public facilities for campervan users. There are quite a number of privately operated sites in the district, licensed by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, which accommodate campervans and motorhomes, and the Council is continuing to work with other operators to license further sites.”
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