Study reveals lack of parking in Berwick

Extra car parking is needed to cope with peak demand in Berwick, a comprehensive car parking study has confirmed.

Thursday, 11th January 2018, 8:05 am
Updated Thursday, 11th January 2018, 8:10 am
Castlegate car park in Berwick

The study, carried out by consulants for Northumberland County Council, reveals the need for 50 more spaces as soon as possible.

It also estimates that 187 extra spaces are needed in the next couple of years, assuming the overflow car park at Castlegate, which provides 141 spaces, is not available long term.

Longer-term forecasts indicate that 261 new spaces need to be found by 2031 to meet demand.

The studies have found many of the issues identified are common to all the county’s main market towns, however there are also some key differences so the strategies for each one will need to be tailored to the local needs and circumstances.

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The report states that measures which could be considered are increasing off-street car park capacity, converting some long-stay parking to short-stay, promoting sustainable transport options and reviewing on-street car parking arrangements.

However, councillors have ruled out any county-wide reintroduction of parking charges.

Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “Now the reports are back, our next steps are to discuss the findings with the local county councillors, town councils and other key stakeholders so that we can agree what actions are acceptable and should be taken forward to help meet the particular needs of each town. We also welcome comments from other town and parish councils in the local area.

“The views of these stakeholders will be key in determining what we do in these towns.”

There have been recent efforts to relieve some of Berwick’s parking issues, such as the additional spaces created at Hatters Lane and the proposed conversion of the Chapel Street coach park into a 23-bay car park.

Coun Catherine Seymour, member for Berwick North, said: “I am pleased to see all the hard work that has gone into this report and that the new county council administration is listening to the concerns of local residents and businesses regarding parking in Berwick.

“Together with my colleagues at the county council, I have already done a lot of work to try to help ease issues with regard to parking in our town to include the introduction of additional spaces at Hatters Lane. There is, however, still more work to do and we will be addressing this along with Berwick Town Council in the coming months.”

The report findings echo those ascertained by Berwick Chamber of Trade in its 2016 study.

Chamber secretary Stephen Scott, in an objection to the planned removal of the coach park, explains: “Berwick Chamber of Trade has been lobbying for more car parking over many years and continue to do so.

“We commissioned our own car parking survey in 2016, the outcome of which was that car parking capacity is a significant problem for Berwick which is adversely affecting our economic growth.

“However, our parking policies are contributing to this problem. During busy periods, our car parks are full of cars owned by residents, workers whose jobs are located in the town centre and commuters. So when the visitor/tourist arrives, there is limited car parking available.

“Policies should be adapted to alleviate this problem, until wider capacity issues are addressed.”

He also believes a mistake was made by making Hatters Lane an all-day car park.

To read the full reports go to http://bit.ly/parkingstudies