A council leader said overnight parking for campervans is necessary in Girvan and Ayr to attract and retain visitors.

South Ayrshire leader Councillor Peter Henderson said there were 50 campervans in Girvan one day last summer and facilities are now vital as chemical toilet waste was thrown into the harbour. 

This week councillors approved a trial to create 20 bays for the vehicles in each town and toilet waste facilities – due to start this month.

The 40 parking spaces in total will be created in Ayr’s Blackburn Road and Girvan’s Knockcushan Street car parks. Visitors will pay £5 per night.

READ MORE: Campervans could be allowed on South Ayrshire seafronts for the first time

Conservative Derek McCabe tried to stop the scheme in Ayr – predicting there would be “carnage.” 

Councillor Henderson said there was a huge increase in campervans last summer in the seaside towns.

The Girvan and South Carrick politician said: “We want to provide facilities and keep visitors coming back here and supporting business. It has to be put in place now. People will be consulted during the trial. Last year was an absolute nightmare in Girvan and Ayr – we had a problem. 

“You couldn’t get on Ayr seafront for camper vans. Chemical toilets were emptied into Girvan harbour, which causes pollution. They were also emptied into (public) toilets, which destroys the system. There were 50 camper vans in Girvan during the summer one day. We want to attract tourists back to Girvan.”

READ MORE: Councillors oppose plans to allow campervans to stay in Ayr overnight

Councillor Henderson said campervan clubs support the idea.

He said: “This is what they do in France and Germany.”

Ayr West councillor Derek McCabe is unhappy about Ayr’s Blackburn car park welcoming the vehicles overnight. He called in the decision for scrutiny. 

But a special council meeting pushed it through on Thursday (April 1) with every SNP, Labour and Independent politician supporting it.

Councillor McCabe said: “It will be carnage. The cost of paying parking wardens overtime will be phenomenal. I’m very disappointed the council failed to consult with local residents.

“It will seem like open season at the Blackburn car park. Anyone with a caravan, campervan or converted VW can stay. It will be like an official camp site. Going by the history of the travelling community who have used the site, there could be gas canisters, horses and quad bikes.”

Vehicles would only be allowed to stay for one night – and can’t return within 24 hours.

The pilot, which would run until September, would cost £30,000 to get up an running.

There is also a bid to crack down on people parking up overnight along the Ayr Esplanade and Girvan’s Louisa Drive and Harbour Street.