AN independent new survey has been set up to find out whether people want short stay parking back on Berwick’s main shopping street.
The Berwick 4 Borderers website is seeking views on parking in Marygate and plans to present the findings to Northumberland County Council.
Ed Swales, a member of the Portas town team aiming to regenerate Berwick with its £100,000 prize, believes the town should be the jewel in the crown of the Borders given its rich history and beautiful location.
However, like many others, he has been dismayed by the deterioration of Marygate in particular over recent years.
He said: “There’s no doubt the high street is suffering due to lack of footfall. Why should people leave Duns, Coldstream, Eyemouth, Bamburgh or Wooler to shop in Marygate when they can at least park in their own high streets and, in most cases above, for nothing?
“Even if you did come towards Berwick, the temptation of free parking at supermarkets on the outskirts is sometimes enough to stop you there.
“We need to find out what it would take to make Berwick’s heart more attractive to visitors so we’re asking people for their views. We want to know whether they favour the return of short-stay parking or if they think it should be completely pedestrianised - or left as it is at the moment. The survey will only take a minute or two to complete and will assist us in putting forward the right message on Berwick’s behalf.”
He added: “Our aim is to convert meaningful thoughts and opinions into effective action through legitimate action. Anyone to whom Berwick is their home hub, be it for business, shopping, education, health, travel, sport or leisure are encouraged to contribute towards achieving what our dear town can and must be if we, as today’s custodians of that unique legacy, are to do our duty for future generations.”
Last month, shopkeeper John Gardiner bluntly told the council that short-stay parking must be reintroduced to save the high street from becoming semi-derelict.
However, there are others who believe a fully pedestrianised Marygate would create a better shopping experience.
The part-pedestrianisation of Marygate took place in 2005.
To complete the survey visit www.Berwick4Borderers.org.uk