Not a warm welcome
Well done Northumberland County Council on creating what must be a national '˜first' '“ the only coach park in England where coach passengers are not allowed to come within 100 metres of their coach.
They’ve paid good money for a nice visit to see the sights of Berwick, and instead are deposited at a windswept litter and weed-filled flowerbed, possibly in the rain, but I suppose they might be lucky.
No helpful signage, no information boards, no shelter, no facilities – just a view of their coach disappearing down the road.
The driver, meanwhile, has the task of negotiating the difficult turn to the coach park, which may, or may not, be full.
The estimated need for coach park facilities in Berwick is space for 10 coaches. The brand new half a million pound Chapel Street Coach Park offers four.
And if they do find a space, there are no facilities or refreshments for them either.
Welcome to Berwick.
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For anyone trying to come to Berwick by car and park, there’s a further 35 car parking spaces lost, so a fantastic ‘welcome’ for them too.
I am old enough to remember a great comedy series on TV entitled Yes Minister, with Sir Humphrey as the obstructive civil servant and the Right Honourable James Hacker as the publicity-seeking and frustrated Minister for Administrative Affairs. There was a classic episode about a brand new hospital which had no patients and was being kept that way by the civil servants because it ran more efficiently without them.
Northumberland County Council’s activities remind me of Sir Humphrey – much better not to seek or listen to local views, much better to ignore the needs of tourists, much better to ignore the views and needs of those in the tourist industry – simply blow half a million pounds, congratulate yourself and walk away. Job done.