Parking report to go before council

Parking meter sign in Berwick.

Parking meter sign in Berwick.

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Car parking charges in some Northumberland towns, including Berwick, could be scrapped by the county council this year.

A report will go before Northumberland County Council’s scrutiny committee next week, informing councillors that some parish/town councils wish to see charges removed in council car parks and on-street parking places.

It follows the authority’s offer to all Northumberland town and parish councils of the chance to remove the charges which are currently in place.

Following discussions last year, Berwick Town Council decided that free parking would benefit the town, and asked that this be realised as soon as possible.

However, not all towns and villages want to see charges scrapped. Whilst the majority welcome the introduction of free parking, Holy Island and Seahouses, as well as Newton by the Sea, Corbridge and Craster, have asked to retain charges as part of a wider traffic management plan.

The council’s Labour administration pledged before taking power in 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.

Councillor Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment, said: “We wanted to leave the decision to local communities on whether or not to introduce free car parking.

“They have now given us their views. While we believe there are real benefits to free parking we understand and appreciate that for traffic management reasons some communities may be unable to take up the offer.”

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