A VAN dweller living on Falmouth's seafront has admitted they are using bushes as urinals but say when no toilets are open what choice do they have?

As reported in the Packet this week and online last week, a working party has been set up by Falmouth Town Council to look at the issue of people living in vans overlooking Falmouth Bay on Cliff Road and Boscawen Road.

The article prompted a mixed reaction with the online article attracting, as of today, 36 comments while the Facebook post attracted 68 comments.

Many people supported the van dwellers saying they should be left alone and had no choice in the matter while others blamed them for stinking up the seafront and anti-social behaviour.

The Packet spoke to one van dweller Milo, aged 22, living in his van on Boscawen Road where a number of vehicles were parked including a single decker coach which people were living in. He said before he lived in his van he had been living in a converted garage on the Helford River with four other people where he was sleeping in the kitchen.

They had been forced to move out once the summer season started and two of his housemates had got a houseboat while he had got his van which he'd been living in it ever since. He had been parked in Boscawen Road for two weeks but planned to move on as soon as he got his cheque. He said he worked part time three days a week as a chef but didn't want to work any more than that because he really enjoyed the lifestyle.

"It all started by chance year and half ago, he said. "Getting turfed out once summer season began and we couldn't find a place in town. Four of us were crammed in. I was sleeping in the kitchen. We were looking for options to stay down here. We were all country born and bred and wanted to be nearer to nature

"It gave me the ability to stay here and enjoy far more of Cornwall than I did before."


Vans, including a coach parked in Boscawen Road

Vans, including a coach parked in Boscawen Road


He said was originally from Hampshire but moved down about two and a half years ago. "It's a bit cliched but it's the freedom. It's cramped it's small, it's not for everyone. He said his family were completely baffled by what he was doing.

"It's a lovely way of life and you save a lot of money doing it," he said.

He said there is a big community to it. He said Castle Beach was the centre of people living along the sea front but it had been rumoured the council was closing it and they were constantly being disturbed by people banging on the vans at night. So he had moved to Boscawen Road where it was quieter.

He said for most people living in the vans it was definitely a choice. He had stumbled into it, but later on it became a choice. "But for most people it was a choice so they didn't have to pay council tax or 'ridiculous' bills and not being tied down," he said.

He said he planned to move at the end of the month off but he said rising fuel prices had been a shock. He said he had had no interaction with the working party set up .

"By and large I have had it quite nice," he said. "As long as you're nice not causing trouble, you're fine." But he said he had heard a lot of people had had a lot of animosity towards them, especially in the summer season "people come down kicking up a fuss because you're on their street". "It's all about ownership, we own these houses so we own a stake in this so they don't like it when people come along and enjoy what they've got for a fraction of what they are paying," he said.

However he admitted that they were forced to use the bushes as urinals at night because the public toilets were all closed. "It's a fact of van life if it's late at night I'll go down the path and use the bush." He said it would depend on the cost as to whether he would use any facilities provided by the council, but it would probably be too expensive when he could just park for free.

One resident of Boscawen Road, who has lived there for 40 years, 86-year-old Pam Fuller told the Sun newspaper locals who used to enjoy the area have been "pushed out' by the campers" disruptive behaviour.

Her husband Geoff Fuller, 88, told the paper: "Our road has been turned into an unofficial, free camp site with no facilities.

"The nearest toilets are hundreds of yards away on the beaches and it’s obvious, by the smell, that some of the van occupants don’t bother using them. They just go in the bushes or the woods."

Another resident of Boscawen Road, who didn't want to be identified, told the Packet that she didn't really appreciate a massive coach parked across from her house or the vans that come and park there for long periods of time.

"One of the issues is people using the fields as toilets and there is nowhere for locals to park," she said. "If they want to come with their kids or walk their dogs and that is quite a big issue especially with the big coach there."

She said she had been to one of the working party meetings but she felt it was more on the side of the van dwellers rather than the residents. "They are trying find somewhere for the van dwellers to stay but who would pay £5 a night when you can just have this view and not pay anything at all?" she said.

She said the solution was parking restrictions and the van dwellers being able to use the local facilities.