Town centre shops in plea for parking
A NEW survey of high street businesses in Berwick has revealed that the overwhelming majority are in favour of short stay parking on Marygate.
The survey found that 55 out of 56 retailers would like to see some form of limited parking on the street.
Boots manager Sermen Sonkur, who initiated the survey, hopes to use the evidence to persuade Northumberland County Council to take action.
He said: “I’ve noticed a significant decline in footfall over the five years I’ve been here. People from places like Eyemouth, Wooler and Seahouses just aren’t popping in like they used to and you have to think the parking situation has a lot to do with it.
“If there was limited parking, people would be able to come in and pick up a prescription without worrying about picking up a parking ticket.
“We need to change people’s mindsets so that they feel they can come into Berwick town centre, even if it’s only for half an hour. We certainly need to do something.”
The findings were welcomed by Ed Swales, a director of Berwick’s Portas town team.
He said: “It’s great news that national retailers are prepared to get involved in the welfare of Berwick town centre.
“I know that Boots are desperate to see short stay parking back on Marygate and they have the backing of Berwick Chamber of Trade. These are key voices that need to be heard during discussions on the future of Marygate.”
Neither are represented on the working group currently looking at ways of rejuvenating Marygate.
Mr Swales said: “It seems very strange to me that neither the chamber of trade or national retailers are being asked for their views. I’ll be writing to the chairman of that committee saying they ought to be represented.”
Last year, Coun Brian Douglas submitted a 300-signature petition calling for the reintroduction of short stay parking which led to the formation of the working group.
Meanwhile, a petition by Berwick Chamber of Trade which calls for fairer parking charges across the county has been handed over with 3,092 signatures on it.
John Haswell, chairman of the chamber, said: “There’s been a magnificent response to the petition which shows the strength of feeling here.
“Berwick’s population count of 2011 was 11,600 so that is not far off a third of the population. But the most important fact is that they are all local people, no holidaymakers at this time of the year.
“At times they actually stood in line waiting to sign and would tell me with some considerable venom how much they hated the parking charges and the lack of parking on their high street.”
The petition findings will be discussed at a future meeting of the county council’s north area committee.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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