Parking action plan developed for Berwick
An action plan has been developed by Northumberland County Council to improve car parking in Berwick town centre.
The priority is to secure an extension to the temporary planning consent for use of Castlegate overflow car park to then enable further work to be progressed to develop a long term solution, which could include an improved permanent car park.
Negotiations with Network Rail are also being progressed to increase parking spaces at the railway station.
Other plans for this summer include converting The Parade car park to short stay on a trial basis to improve utilisation and turn over of spaces within the town walls.
This is being undertaken at Berwick Town Council’s request to improve turnover of parking spaces for shoppers and visitors to support the town centre economy.
The Chapel Street coach park will also be converted into a short stay car park to provide extra town centre parking capacity, while the potential for the car park behind the library on Chapel Street to be made available to the public at weekends is being investigated, which includes a review of the layout to maximise the number of spaces available.
The council is also liaising with Arch about the potential use of land off Walkergate for extra temporary car parking, pending its future redevelopment.
Coun Catherine Seymour, member for Berwick North, said: “Parking is crucial in the town for residents, businesses and visitors and although fortunate with our built up areas of rich fabric of heritage buildings, this comes with many restraints for parking in the town.
“With the imminent reinstatement of the car park on Chapel Street and by working to secure the consent of the overflow of Castlegate car park, this will help the shortfall that was highlighted by the consultants.
“Along with their recommendations and by listening to the voice of Berwick, this shows that the county council have looked at options available and will continue to find solutions and make refinements to these plans.”
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Mayor Gregah Roughead added: “We’re delighted we’ve had the chance to discuss these plans, and we’re convinced that annual reviews and a regular dialogue with the county council is the best way to address the changing parking needs of Berwick as a tourist destination and a place to live, work and shop.”
Last year the county council commissioned consultants to carry out parking studies and survey work in Berwick, Hexham, Morpeth and Alnwick to help develop options for future parking needs.
Individual parking action plans have now been developed for all four towns that build on the studies and take on-board the views and opinions of all stakeholders.
The council recognises that significant capital investment is required to address the parking issues faced and has allocated £10million to fund improvements. This will be used to support implementation of the four market town action plans, as well as being available to support business cases for parking improvements in other locations.
Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for Environment and Local Services, said: “Because so many people approached us when we first took over the administration of the council about problems with car parking, and with general congestion in town centres, we have been committed to finding workable solutions to the county’s parking issues which have the support of residents, businesses, shoppers and visitors.
“While the studies have focused on the four main towns, we are also working with other communities to address the parking issues they face.
“While it’s clear that extra car parking is required in all four towns to address the existing parking problems and plan ahead for anticipated future housing growth and demand, just building more spaces will not solve the parking problems.
“This would just lead to extra traffic in the town centres and create even more reliance on car travel.
“That’s why a range of immediate, medium and longer term measures are being proposed within the action plans alongside increases in capacity to help manage demand and ensure our town centres remain attractive places to visit.”