Adapted motorhomes and vans have become a booming holiday modality. However, when the necessary infrastructure is not available, these can become a problem. Beyond the campsites, the city of Tarragona does not have a regulated area to spend the night, with the services required by these vehicles. And this makes its users look for life ‘occupying’ any corner that offers them a minimum guarantee of tranquility and security.
Platja Llarga has become one of these ‘illegal’ car parks this Easter. “It’s not uncommon, you always saw one, but so many like this year I had never seen it and let’s see how they leave it later,” said Maria Pilar López. They were parked in the parking lot next to the La Sardineta restaurant and the old Iot, in an area where bathers park in summer, but these days it was practically occupied by these vehicles. Between vans and motorhomes there were about a fortnight, which made some neighbors not quite see it with good eyes. “Personally they don’t bother me, but there are people who do, because it makes them a bit insecure and there are two campsites right here,” explains Salvador Minguella, a resident of the area. The discomfort of the neighbors is that they denounce the “abandonment” of this environment. “It is very neglected and during the whole night there is no light, in addition to the street that is very deteriorated and of course, now that…”, adds Minguella.
“There is a boom in general and a car park on the beachfront, in an area like this it is a piece of candy,” argues Paco, a restaurateur in the area.
It is not the only space in Tarragona in which an increase in these vehicles has been detected during this Holy Week. In the Vall de l’Arrabassada, some land next to the Aldi supermarket was also converted into an improvised campsite, in this case right in the center of the city.
The municipal ordinance allows these vehicles to park in the city. Despite this, its users cannot stay overnight inside. “The use of a vehicle, caravan or similar as a dwelling will be considered illegal camping,” says the text. In this case, it is considered a minor infraction, which may entail a sanction classified as “minor”. This means that these people could be fined up to 200 euros.
The Tarragona City Council ensures that the Guàrdia Urbana body has a planned service that is responsible for the control and monitoring of these situations. It is the beach unit that during the summer is specifically responsible for patrolling the coastline, avoiding badly parked cars, informing and facilitating coexistence with residential areas.
In the case of Platja Llarga, the land belongs to the Generalitat de Catalunya, since it is part of the property that includes the Iot and La Sardineta restaurants, as well as the Ciutat Residencial. Sources from the Government Delegation claimed that they “had no knowledge” of the situation and that, in any case, it should have been the Guàrdia Urbana that should have acted.
However, the underlying problem is that, while on the one hand there is a real boom in caravanning, Tarragona does not have any regulated parking. There was a project for the construction of a car park, in the L’Oliva mountain area, despite this, the neighborhood opposition finally reversed the project, when its owner had been processing authorizations for years. Finally, the plenary session last June approved a motion calling for a new location to be studied.
They have finally found it, it is in the Terres Cavades area and Maroem Serveis, the developer company, assures that it is in the definition phase of the new project. The space occupies an area of approximately 1.5 hectares, which could translate into a capacity for between sixty and eighty vehicles. “We must finish seeing it with the project since we must make the accesses and services, and depending on the places there are ratios that establish it,” explains the promoter of this project.
It is planned that in addition to the parking area, the space will be equipped with a service for water treatment, showers and bathrooms. Despite this, at the moment there is no estimated date for its commissioning. “Administrative times are very slow,” says the head of the company.
From the Tarragona City Council, the Councilor for Territory, Xavier Puig, affirms that “we are working to have an orderly and accepted space to be able to welcome this booming market niche, which is of interest, and that does not collide with the campsites”. The local administration has mediated between individuals so that the Terres Cavades option goes ahead, since it is a location that “is well connected to the road and is accessible from the city center”. Likewise, the third deputy mayor affirms that, in parallel, “we are looking at municipal plots that could also host an infrastructure of these characteristics under a concession regime.”