New coach park nearly ready to welcome visitors

Work is progressing well on Berwick town centre's controversial new coach-parking facility.

Thursday, 23rd March 2017, 10:03 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:03 am
The new coach park on Chapel Street, Berwick. Picture by Jane Coltman

Northumberland County Council has revealed the work in Chapel Street will be complete in the next few weeks, ready for the start of the main tourist season.

The new facility will provide four coach-parking bays and will be available to visiting coaches between 8am and 7pm.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services, said: “We’re delighted work is progressing well on this project – coach operators can bring a big boost to tourism for areas like Berwick and we want to ensure there are good parking facilities near the centre of town.

“The new coach park works hand-in-hand with the coach drop off on Church Street provided last year to create more facilities for large groups wishing to visit Berwick.”

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Coun Gavin Jones, member for Berwick North, added: “It’s great news for Berwick to have a coach park. This will enable coach operators to include Berwick on the map and provide Berwick with the economic benefit of increased footfall in the town centre.”

The county council has been searching for a suitable site for many years.

Various other options were considered, including Castlegate car park, the preferred option of Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan who received a 200-signature petition.

However, the council said it would lead to a significant loss of town centre car-parking spaces, create a serious safety risk between coach, car and pedestrian movements within the car park and potentially require planning consent.

The scheme has also attracted considerable opposition from local residents and Berwick Chamber of Trade.

Concerns have been raised about the loss of the short-stay car park, as well as the impact of coaches on the historic built environment.

The project has also been hindered by subsidence to adjacent walls.