MP lodges strong objection to Chapel Street proposal
Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has waded into the long-running saga of the Chapel Street coach park.
She has submitted a strong objection to Northumberland County Council’s change of use application that would allow work to start on the conversion of the car park to a four-bay coach park.
In a letter to the council, she outlines the strength of local opposition to the plan and points out it was the least favoured option in the council-backed survey she carried out.
She added: “The proposed Traffic Regulation Order will detrimentally impact and lead to the loss of the present access for loading and unloading on the site, and as such I believe the council is required to hold a public inquiry before implementing this.”
Opponents claim the favoured coach circulation route along Walkergate-Church Street-Chapel Street is not suitable. They say the number of coaches getting stuck at the narrow junction of Church Street-Hide Hill and Marygate is evidence of how it can cause problems.
Protesters also argue that bringing heavy diesel vehicles into a residential area, in a historic setting, will damage the environment and cause noise and pollution issues.
Instead, they believe a proper visitor facility with toilets, a café and visitor information is needed in a more suitable location.
Berwick Town Council has also called for a re-think of the plans.
The county council has previously ruled out the possibility of other coach park options such as the Castlegate car park because of the significant loss of car parking spaces it would mean, and due to safety concerns.
However, the start of demolition work on the Swan’s coach yard, which will form part of the new coach park, has been welcomed by Cllr Gavin Jones, member for Berwick North
He said: “It’s great news for the town that after 20 years of discussion, a coach park will be delivered. Many obstacles have been put in the way of delivering a coach park, including someone over the wall hand-rearing seagulls this summer.
“There are many differing views on coach parking, but I’m hoping that we can all get behind the Chapel Street coach park and make it a success to ensure that our town realises the potential economic boost.”