Free parking starts today (April 1) in council-run car parks and on street parking places in Berwick, Wooler, Bamburgh and Beadnell.
Motorists will need to display a parking disc when parking in short stay places that were previously pay and display.
Enforcement of time limits and other restrictions, such as parking outside of marked bays, will remain in place. Enforcing the time limits in short stay parking areas will ensure high turnover of high demand.
The county council’s parking services staff have been visiting Berwick over the last two weeks to distribute the new parking discs and talk to local people. They will be in the town again on Thursday 3 April and Friday 11 April from 10am – 3pm with a stand in Marygate.
They are being supported by local volunteers from the Town Council and Chamber of Trade, who are helping to explain the new arrangements.
Holy Island and Seahouses have asked to retain parking charges for traffic management reasons.
Parking charges will also remain in place in Berwick Railway Station car park. Concerns that train users could desert the car park in search of free parking elsewhere have so far proved unfounded.
The council’s Labour administration pledged before taking power last May to allow local communities to decide if they want to have parking fees or not.
The leader of the council wrote to parish and town councils in July offering them the chance to produce community parking plans. Town and parish councils also consulted local residents and businesses before submitting their community parking plans to the county council.
There are a total of six contravention codes being amended in order to reduce abuse of the parking restrictions in place.
Parking on double and single yellow lines during prescribed hours will be reduced to a two minute observation period. The remaining contraventions which include ‘double parking’ and parking adjacent to a dropped footway, will become an instant issue with no observation period given.