Residents must pay more for parking permits

Berwick residents will have to fork out extra for a parking permit from April 1, following a 66 per cent price rise.

Thursday, 14th March 2019, 07:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 12:57 pm
Brought to you by the Berwick Advertiser team.

Following a review of the scheme, the first in 10 years, an increase in cost has been agreed by Northumberland County Council.

There are also some changes to conditions for guest house owners in the Berwick area to address problems with the availability of on-street parking spaces in the town centre.

The review found that the previous charge of £15 per permit did not meet the cost of administering the scheme – and the council also incurs further costs in managing and enforcing it.

A new annual charge of £25 per permit has therefore been agreed by the council as part of its overall budget savings for 2019/20.

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Changes are also being made to conditions for guest house owners in Berwick to bring them more in line with the allocations made for other residential properties, and recognising the availability of alternative off-street car parking provision within the town which visitors can use.

The council has agreed these changes as part of its budget setting process – which has aimed to secure investment in schemes that will boost the county’s economy, including extra car parking, whilst also protecting vital frontline services.

The council has had to agree £25million of £36million savings over the next three years with efficiencies of £12.8 million identified for the coming year.

Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for local services, said: “We appreciate that people might see this as quite a hike in charges.

“However it must be looked at in the context of there having been no increase in charges for 10 years, and our need to protect vital frontline services.”

He added: “We are investing heavily in parking provision in the county, working with local town and parish councils and other local stakeholders, and this work will continue.”

He added: “We are delivering a very ambitious programme of car parking improvements right across the county, including substantial work in Berwick.

“Even with this increase the council still subsidies the cost of the permits.”

“The council is making excellent progress against the parking action plan for Berwick, has secured the availability of the overflow area at Castlegate car park for a further three years, has converted the Chapel Street coach park into a short stay car park with EV charging point, is progressing plans for significant additional parking at both the railway station and on the Quayside and is also improving on-street parking capacity at Tweedmouth.

“The new coach drop-off and short stay bays are also being regularly used. Work is also about to start on the development of a scheme for the permanent use of Castlegate.”

Each residential address within the scheme area is entitled to two permits - one registered to a resident’s vehicle and one for a visitor.

Guest houses will receive the same number of permits as other residential properties within the scheme at two. In order to allow flexibility guest houses will be able to have both of their permits as visitor permits.

Visitors to the guest house will be able to load and unload from resident parking bays without the need to display a permit - however they will then need to move their vehicle to either a car park or an unrestricted area.