B&B owners rage at coach parking plan

Church Street B&B owners are concerned how a change to parking will affect business

Church Street B&B owners are concerned how a change to parking will affect business

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Bed and breakfast providers in Berwick fear they could be put out of business by proposed new parking restrictions outside their properties.

A proposal to remove some on-street parking on Church Street has been made by Northumberland County Council to give coaches easier access to the new coach park being planned at nearby Chapel Street.

The plans also indicate a passenger pick-up and drop-off point opposite Parade School Mews.

Anne Macnab, who runs the Old School House B&B, said: “There are six B&Bs in this little area and we’re really worried about the affect it’s going to have on our business.

“We’re going to lose so much custom if they go ahead with this plan. Visitors won’t be able to park outside our premises any more, and neither will shoppers popping into the town centre.”

Plans to create four coach parking bays in the existing Chapel Street car park and neighbouring Swans yard were approved by the council’s planning and environment committee last month.

However, Rose Osborne of Parade School Mews complained that residents had not been consulted about this part of the plan.

“Residents and businesses who are going to be most affected by this proposal don’t seem to have been considered,” she told a meeting of Berwick Town Council.

Robin Morley of Mirandas Guest House, who only became aware of the proposals at the weekend, labelled it ‘stealth planning’.

Steve Flook of Alannah Guest House asked: “Where are my guests going to park?

“Day trippers don’t bring us any trade so we are losing parking for the benefit of other service providers.

“I think the whole thing is wrong. I don’t understand how big buses are safely going to go up Church Street and round the corner into Chapel Street in any case.”

Many felt coach parking would be better sited at the Castlegate car park where there are tourist facilities such as shops and toilets nearby.

Church Street resident John Crawford said it was a ‘pot barmy’ scheme.

“Berwick has fought for years for free parking and now the county council want to take all these parking places away,” he said.

Councillor Tom Forrester said: “The area covered in Church Street will affect directly the well-established B&B businesses in that area that rely on passing traffic. We could see some of these well-known businesses go under because of this ill-judged decision. This has come totally out of the blue for residents.”

But Mayor Isabel Hunter and her colleagues said it was a county council matter.

“We’re just being fobbed off,” complained Mr Morley.

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