Spittal trust launches bid to save car park

Spittal Improvement Trust has started a campaign to try to save the Sandstell Road car park from possible development.

Friday, 8th July 2016, 08:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 12:51 pm
Sandstell Road car park in Spittal

It has set up a petition, which now has nearly 400 signatures, to try to stop Northumberland County Council from selling the land.

The car park was one of four Berwick sites put on the market last month as the council continues to off-load surplus assets.

Since this came to the attention of the trust, it has been actively seeking a way in which to keep the car park just as it is.

Its first course of action was to see if it qualified for the county council’s Community Asset Transfer scheme.

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It would qualify if the trust wanted the car park for other purposes, such as building on. It is currently identified as a potential for housing in the 2011 study carried out by consultants looking at sites all along the south bank of the Tweed from Tweedmouth.

However, it is understood the council is looking for the full asking price of £150,000 to maximise value for the tax payer.

The trust argues that the car park is used daily by local residents, employees of local businesses and visitors to Spittal, as well as members of the adjoining sailing club.

It is used as an access point by the public to the banks of the River Tweed and offers excellent views from Spittal across to Berwick.

The trust also points out that it has two main sewer connections running underneath it which could make it costly to develop.

An improvement trust spokesman said: “The trust fully understand the county council’s need to sell off all the buildings that they no longer require in an effort to raise money to help pay for the deficit in their budget but not without consultation with the local communities involved.

“The trust are still looking at whether a bid can be mounted for a Community Asset Transfer but in the meantime they have raised a petition on Facebook and would appreciate your support in an effort to make Northumberland County Council change its intentions of selling off Sandstell Road car park.”

The petition can be found at http://alturl.com/ddhb4

The council is also seeking to sell the former council building at Wallace Green, Tweedmouth; Cemetery Lodge, based on Cemetery Lane; and Berwick Cemetery Lodge, based on North Road.

The local authority has identified opportunities to generate more than £33million in capital income and make annual savings in running costs of £3.4million by selling off surplus buildings and ensuring remaining properties are fit for purpose.