Staycation trend funds improvements in Moray village but campaigners warn government support is still needed

Campaigners are calling for more government support to upgrade rural tourism facilities as a result of the post-lockdown staycation boom.

The Findhorn Village Conservation Company has been collecting voluntary fees from the beach car park for more than two years.

The daily charges, which are £1 for cars and £10 for motorhomes, were introduced to generate income to maintain the site for visitors as well as make improvements for residents.

The model has been hailed as an example to follow by other communities by members of Moray Council.

Vehicles at the beach car park in Findhorn.

However, the group believes government support is still critical to cope with the rising trend of staycations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yesterday the Scottish Government stressed it was “very aware” of the concerns and stressed it had increasing funding pots to cope with demand.

Conservation company chairman Frank Allan said: “Parking is crucial for us, it’s our main source of income so we want people to come here and use it.

“There has to be a role undertaken by local government and central government though – they have to be involved.

“The rise in staycations has been a wonderful idea but the infrastructure to support that has to be in place.

“What we’ve seen in other areas of Scotland is there are clearly areas where that simply is not the case.”

Cash collected from the car park has been used to pay for bins in the area to keep the site tidy for locals and visitors as well as tending to dangerous trees and repairing fences in the rest of the village.

Findhorn has been popular for staycations this year.

Volunteers have been visiting vehicles each evening to advise them there is a 36-hour limit on parking.

Meanwhile, a planning application to formalise arrangements for motorhomes including marked bays was already being prepared before the virus outbreak.

Signs have been put up to advise against camping following fires on the coastline.

The Scottish Government has encouraged people to enjoy staycations but encouraged them to plan ahead to check facilities available and avoid crowded areas.

A spokesman said: “We’re very aware of these issues and we’re committed to doing more to reduce pressures on communities.

“That’s why we’ve added £3million to our rural tourism infrastructure fund for 2020 and this will help fund community toilets, car parks and motorhome facilities – in addition to projects already delivered such as the new car park and toilets in opened in Pluscarden last year.”

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