Council calls for end to parking shambles

Town councillors have unanimously called for an end to the '˜dangerous' and '˜shambolic' parking arrangements on Marygate.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 26 February, 2016, 06:33
Parking Bays on Marygate

They have called for Northumberland County Council to revisit its plans for Berwick’s main shopping street.

Councillors had been asked to give their verdict on the short-stay parking trial that has been in operation since September 2014.

Councillor Anne Forbes said: “The car parking in Marygate is disgraceful. The way people park there is dangerous.”

Mayor Hazel Bettison added: “The idea of people being able to pull up and pop into the shops was a good one but the way it’s been done is dangerous. I’ve nearly been knocked over there myself.”

Councillor Karin Graham said there had been seven recorded accidents there during the trial period.

She also revealed that a pedestrian crossing at the north end of the street had been ruled out by highways chiefs because of its proximity to the Golden Square roundabout.

“They have to go back to the drawing board,” added Councillor David Blackburn.

Councillor Ivor Dixon said: “This was an experiment that was tried for the people of Berwick.

“It was aimed at letting people park and pop into the shops but it’s been shambolic.

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“If you stand at the top of the street and look down it looks a shambles. As well as cars parked along the street there are stallholders too. You take your life in your hands, even in a pedestrian area.”

The current design, which lets drivers park halfway on to the pavement and halfway on to the road, was criticised for failing to implement the measures agreed by a working group of councillors and businesses.

At the time, Ed Swales, a member of the working group, voiced his dissatisfaction with the ‘half-baked’ arrangement.

John Haswell, chairman of Berwick Chamber of Trade, said: “The bollards were supposed to be removed to let drivers park off the road but the county council didn’t do that.”

The county council has acknowledged the current flaws with the trial.

In December, it revealed that another solution for town centre car parking may need to be considered given the feedback it had received.

This could be either re-designing the offer in Marygate and/or making improvements at other car parking locations to address demand with improved access arrangements for pedestrians walking into the town centre.

The council said this further work could be linked to other town centre improvements being considered through the Local Transport Plan.