Parking charges finally scrapped in Berwick

Berwick Railway Station Car Park

Berwick Railway Station Car Park

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Car parking will be free in Berwick from April, after councillors agreed this week to end charges in its car parks and on street parking places.

Drivers in Bamburgh and Beadnell will also be able to park for free, while charges will be retained in Holy Island and Seahouses.

Councillor Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment, said: “We believe free parking has real benefits for residents, businesses and visitors but we left the decision to local communities.

“We understand and appreciate that for traffic management reasons some communities are unable to take up the offer.”

The decision will please Berwick Chamber of Trade, which has been calling for free parking in the town for years.

But with the reintroduction of short-stay parking on Marygate still not okayed, footfall already down and more shops closing every month, business owners will hope it is not a case of too little too late.

The decision to introduce free parking was finally agreed by the council’s policy board on Tuesday, following a wide-ranging consultation involving town and parish councils and local communities.

It follows the pledge made by the incoming Labour administration to offer to all Northumberland town and parish councils the chance to remove the charges which are currently in place.

But the county council has warned that whilst free parking will be introduced, enforcement of time limits and other restrictions such as parking outside of marked bays will remain in place.

“Rigorous enforcement” of the time limits in short stay parking areas will be introduced to ensure turnover of high demand parking spaces.

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.

A spokesman for the council said: “It is hoped that by combining this policy change with the introduction of free parking we will encourage drivers to park correctly and make full use of permitted parking places rather than them taking a chance and parking illegally, which causes congestion on our streets.”

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