Council officers have acknowledged that increased demand on long-stay parking provision has been one of the key impacts of free parking.
In Berwick, long-stay car parks at Castlegate, Parade, Quayside and Coxon’s Lane have been full by mid-morning for much of the summer.
Parking manager Lynne Ryan, in a report to Northumberland County Council’s north area committee on Monday, explains: “Previously those who parked all day were less inclined to park in pay and display car parks due to the cost.
“However, now that parking is free there has been a significant shift in the parking behaviours of, in particular, the local workers.
“Council officers will continue to work with town councils to find appropriate solutions whilst considering the needs of all users.”
However, she also notes that the introduction of free parking in April has generally received positive feedback.
“The new controls are very much in their infancy and whilst there are a few issues that need to be addressed, the implementation of free parking and the resulting changes in restrictions and enforcement have been fairly smooth,” she reports.
Berwick town centre is now far busier, according to feedback from the town council. Free parking had helped the town centre compete with out-of-town supermarkets.
There has been an increase in parking tickets for non-display of parking discs but this is expected to fall as drivers become aware of the new rules.
But Ms Ryan added: “Whilst this is the case there are still motorists parking without reading the signage which results in enforcement action being taken.”