04 Jul Freshwater West
Trials at Freshwater West
Established in 2000, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum (PCF) is a multi-award-winning social enterprise based in Pembrokeshire. As a Community Interest Company, we are a neutral and independent body set up to ensure that Pembrokeshire remains the unique place we all love, for future generations to enjoy.
Freshwater West Steering Group
A Freshwater West Steering Group was set up in late 2018 comprising of local representatives from National Trust, Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, RNLI, Natural Resources Wales, Ministry of Defence Castlemartin Firing Range, Dyfed Powys Police, Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company, Outer Reef Surf School, Stackpole and Castlemartin Community Council and Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum.
The Steering Group was formed to look at issues around capacity and safety due to the rapid growth of people visiting the beach. The group has identified the following issues at Freshwater West and has been working on designing sustainable solutions to tackle them:
- Road Safety
- Overnight parking and camping
- Beach Safety
Following meetings held by the Freshwater West Steering Group, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum (PCF) suggested that an engagement event should be held to inform the wider community of proposals being brought forward by members of the steering group.
The Freshwater West community drop-in day was held on 30th April 2019 at Castlemartin Village Hall/Community Café – the closest community venue to Freshwater West. Representatives from the RNLI, National Trust, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Pembrokeshire County Council were present to explain more about what is being trialled at the beach this season.
Solutions to be trialled
The following solutions will be trialled from July 2019 in order to mitigate the issues outlined above:
1 – National Trust will trial an enforcement option at National Trust car parks. Any overnight parking between 10pm and 6am will be issued with a £100 Parking Charge Notice. See statement from National Trust here.
2 – Pembrokeshire County Council will trial traffic control through:
- Increased double yellow lines at pinch points.
- Retaining parking with further double yellow lines in between, creating passing places.
- Parking regulation order preventing use of Highway for overnight stays by campervans/caravans.
- Download the plan here.
Find out more and have your say
If you have any queries about the plans outlined above, please contact the National Trust via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by Facebook @NTPembs. You can contact Pembrokeshire County Council at email@example.com.
The National Trust registered their planning application with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, the details of which can be accessed via https://planning.pembrokeshirecoast.wales
If you visit Freshwater West over the coming months please complete a visitor survey which can be found in the survey box next to the recycling bins by the toilet block in the main car park.
National Trust FAQs
1. What is the National Trust doing and why?
Freshwater West is a special place – it is one of the most beautiful and popular coastal sites in Pembrokeshire and it is also a legally protected conservation area and home to a host of wildlife and plant life, including lizards, orchids and rare ground-nesting birds.
Unfortunately, the National Trust has seen an increase in illegal overnight parking and camping at their car parks at Freshwater West. Litter, discarded tents, toilet waste and campfires are all having a detrimental impact on this natural habitat and pose a risk to visitors and wildlife. The situation has now reached a point where it is unmanageable and is spoiling the experience and impacting access for our other visitors. As a conservation charity, the National Trust’s priority is to ensure that visitors have an enjoyable and safe experience, whilst also safeguarding the landscape.
Subject to planning permission for signage, they will be trialling an enforcement option at Freshwater West from mid-July for a 12-month period to ensure people don’t park or camp illegally overnight.
The National Trust will be working with District Enforcement whose enforcement officers will be completing overnight patrols of the car parks at Freshwater West. Anyone overnight parking between 10pm and 6am will be issued with a £100 Parking Charge Notice.
2. Why have you started to enforce at Freshwater West?
Trialling the enforcement option is a last resort to keep Freshwater West accessible and safe for all visitors. Day visitors are finding it increasingly difficult to park due to campervans and motorhomes taking up spaces for extended periods, while people staying overnight are having a detrimental impact on the environment, with an increase in fires, rubbish and extra pressure on the toilet facilities. The situation has become unmanageable. By enforcing the car parking restrictions the National Trust is improving access for the majority of people who want to come and enjoy Freshwater West as day visitors, while protecting this special place for the future.
3. I have always parked my car in the National Trust car park at night, why has this changed?
Overnight parking has never been permitted in National Trust car parks and anyone parking at night is breaking a bylaw. The National Trust has introduced signage, flyers and regular Ranger patrols to raise awareness of this, but this has not been effective and people are still staying in their car parks overnight, and often for extended periods. The situation has now reached a point where it is unmanageable and spoiling the experience for our other visitors as well as having a detrimental impact on the environment due to fires, littering and camping in the dunes.
4. Do I have to pay for parking?
No, parking will remain free for day visitors up until 10pm, when the enforcement period starts.
5. Can I still access the beach from the hours of 10pm to 6am?
Yes. People can access the beach at any time of the day; however you will not be able to park in the National Trust car parks.
6. Why can’t you make the car park bigger to facilitate the demand?
A bigger car park would still not be suitable, or permitted, as a campsite, so a larger car park wouldn’t solve the issue of overnight camping and the impact that it’s having on the beach and legally protected conservation area. The Freshwater West steering group have all agreed that Fresh West has reached capacity and that the facilities (toilets and car park) and other services cannot cope with the increase in visitors. If we increase the number of visitors then the Freshwater West that we all know and love will become a very different place.
7. Are you doing this to force campers to use the National Trust campsite at Gupton farm?
No. Gupton farm campsite has very limited spaces for Campervans and these are generally fully booked in advance. The National Trust is asking campers to use the many local campsites available in the area.
8. Will the proposed signage affect the view from the car park?
No, the National Trust has been very careful to choose the location of the signs that will not detract from the view.
9. Is the National Trust making any money from the enforcement?
No. The National Trust will not receive anything from the enforcement company.
10. Why did the National Trust choose District Enforcement?
District Enforcement were selected due to their professional experience of tackling overnight parking issues at other sites across the UK and their ability to cover a rural area. They are also an accredited operator under the International Parking Community code of practice.
11. Why 10pm to 6am?
This is the designated time agreed for this trial period and this is in line with other overnight parking enforcement schemes across the UK. This gives our visitors clearly defined times to organise their visit.
12. What timescale does the planning application cover?
The planning application is for signage for a parking enforcement scheme, which we will be trialling for 12 months. The Freshwater West Steering group will review the results of the trial, before making a decision as to whether parking enforcement is needed over a longer term.