Motorists in Berwick will see a drop in the amount they pay to park, with charges in the town set to be brought in line with other market towns in Northumberland.
Northumberland County Council has announced plans to freeze and cut parking charges in a bid to help ease the burden on hard-pressed motorists.
Car park users in Berwick will see a significant drop in the amount they pay to park on weekdays, with Sunday charges due to be scrapped completely.
Parking prices will be slashed at the Castlegate car park, Waugh Place car park, Woolmarket car park, Wallace Green and Woolmarket pay & display, Castlegate car park (long stay and overflow), Parade car park, Coxons Lane car park, Foul Ford car park and the Quaysdide carpark.
The price of all day parking in these areas will drop from £3.50 to £2.50, and parking for four hours will reduce by a pound to £2. In the new plans, three hours’ parking will cost £1.50 - a 90p reduction from the current tariff, and two hours’ parking will be 80p cheaper at £1. Thirty minutes and an hour’s parking will reduce from 50p and £1.10 to 30 and 60 pence respectively.
The Liberal Democrat executive says that reducing prices in Berwick would bring them more in line with other market towns and help ensure the town does not see a drop in visitors and businesses do not see a drop in trade.
Isabel Hunter, county councillor for Berwick West with Ord, said: “I am delighted that Northumberland County Council will be cutting parking charges in Berwick so that they are the same across all the market towns in the county.”
Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith commented: “I am sure motorists will welcome the reintroduction of free parking in Berwick on Sundays and much lower parking charges for the rest of the week.”
He added that many motorists were still unaware of the parking permit schemes, and asked the council to encourage shops and businesses in the town centre to put application forms on display.
Council leader Jeff Reid said the proposals proved what the Liberal Democrat administration had consistently said about parking charges - that they were there for traffic management purposes, not as a revenue raiser.
But Conservative councillors said that Berwick residents would still be subsidising free parking for other areas in the county like Ashington and Blyth.