Survey shows there is still support for coach park facility
A councillor has claimed the majority of Berwick businesses would like the town's coach park to stay on Chapel Street.
A proposal to change the four-bay coach park into a 15-space car park is currently being considered by Northumberland County Council.
If approved, coaches would still drop off passengers on nearby Church Street but long-term coach parking would be provided at the Swan Centre in Tweedmouth, with a short-term facility on Walkergate.
But Coun Alex Gibson believes the Chapel Street facility, which opened less than a year ago, should be given longer to prove its worth.
He came to the conclusion after carrying out a survey of 55 local businesses in which 42 said Chapel Street was their preference. Six preferred Walkergate, three said either and four thought none of the choices were suitable.
He said: “Proprietors, owners and managers can’t understand why we have used £500,000 of taxpayers money to develop a coach park that the Berwick people wanted just to change it back into a car park in less than a year. It’s not the ideal venue but it’s what we have got and it has never had a chance to flourish.
“The town centre seems to be dying – we need tourism badly. Berwick needs more car-parking spaces but the all-day parking is 60 per cent of the problem, tying up six car parks all day long. We have to put time restrictions on three of them at least.”
He added: “There are some suitable brownfield sites around the town and I believe Northumberland County Council should be trying harder to resolve the problem.”
He suggests: “Would it not be possible to use half the Parade car park for coach parking and half for short stay car parking and then use the coach park in Chapel Street for short stay car parking? This would help the shortfall of the Parade car park.”
“The Walkergate on street parking would create traffic chaos as articulated lorries drive to loading bays at the rear of Home Bargains, large vehicles deliver rolls of broadloom carpets to Youngman’s, you have delivery vans toing and froing and not forgetting the public bus services use this route also. There is a taxi rank plus three junctions on this route also the road would be narrower with these large coaches being parked up.”