Town centre parking to come under scrutiny

Councillors are being asked to consider the parking situation in Berwick town centre after concerns about a shortage of spaces over the summer.

Friday, 15th April 2016, 07:07 am
Parade car park

The issue is set to be discussed at Berwick Town Council’s meeting on Monday night.

A report to members states: ‘Complaints have been received, especially at the Quayside car park, that workers are parking all day from 8am in the morning and no spaces are left for tourists/visitors.

‘Comment was made that on Wednesday, March 16, which is not a busy tourist month, no spaces were available anywhere in Berwick apart from a couple of two-hour car parking places.

‘Concern is now growing for the forthcoming tourism season and where are visitors to the town going to park?

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‘Spaces will be lost shortly at Marygate and the grassed area overspill area at Castlegate is also under review.

‘Councillors are asked to consider whether free car parking is working in Berwick and what suggestions they may have for the forthcoming summer to resolve parking issues.’

Free parking in Berwick was introduced in county council-run car parks – with the exception of the railway station – and in on-street parking bays in April 2014.

It followed a pledge made by the Labour administration to offer to all Northumberland town and parish councils the chance to remove parking charges.

The aim was to provide an economic boost to struggling town centres and it has been hailed a success by Northumberland County Council.

However, one of the noticeable side effects has been that all-day car parks, such as The Parade, Coxon’s Lane and Quayside, have been filled by workers in the early part of the day.

Concerns have also been raised in recent months about congestion in the Castlegate car park. Cafe owner Lizzie Middlemiss says it is an issue of frustration to many visitors to the town.

There are also issues with short-stay parking in the town centre, most notably on Marygate where the current trial is set to be reconsidered. The bays, designed to help increase trade by letting drivers park for up to half an hour, were introduced on a trial basis in September 2014.

However, the arrangements were described as shambolic by many and the county council has agreed a rethink is needed.

The council meeting takes place in the town hall at 6pm.