Should towed caravans be encouraged?

A caravan being towed

A caravan being towed

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Congesting, road rage inducing and countryside disfiguring.

That was how Speaker of the House of Keys Steve Rodan described towed caravans.

His opposition in Tynwald to considering encouraging this form of tourism in the island failed to sway members.

A committee was established to report on the likely advantages and disadvantages of encouraging towed caravans in the island ‘with special reference to the possibilities for the encouragement of tourism, the utility or otherwise of creating a non-residential caravan park and the need for regulating the entry on to the island and usage of caravans’.

Geoff Corkish MLC said the issue needed to be discussed as towed caravans are already in the island – but unregulated. He explained that previously there was a gentleman’s agreement between the Steam Packet and the government that towed caravans were not allowed except for special events such as the TT and MGP.

Alex Downie MLC described towed caravans as a ‘huge untapped market’, : ‘I think the Isle of Man is a fantastic place for them to come.’

He said he would support working with the Caravan Club of Great Britain to bring visitors over to stay at a designated non-residential caravan park.

Mr Rodan said: ‘I am very sorry to find that we are even talking about encouraging, facilitating, regulating, creating a home for, or in any way contemplating, having the presence of towed caravans.

‘Anyone who has been in the Scottish Highlands and has ever been stuck behind any of these congesting, road rage inducing, countryside disfiguring vehicles would conclude that a place that is blessedly relatively free of them should be in any way contemplating having them amongst us would think we must be quite literally mad.’

Meanwhile, Mr Corkish was one of a number of members who raised their concern that caravans were being left parked in residential streets and driveways.

Onchan MHK David Quirk said there were cases where caravans were being used as an extension to a home, while Glenfaba MHK David Anderson said they could be a nuisance to neighbours.

Mr Corkish said there was no legislation to control them, saying if they were parked in a beauty spot the only action that can be taken is by the planning department, who can ask the owner to submit a planning application if they have been there for 30 days.

The committee is comprised of Mr Corkish, Mr Quirk and Mr Downie.

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