Town council opposes coach park removal
Berwick Town Council has signalled its opposition to plans to remove the coach park on Chapel Street.
Northumberland County Council has submitted a formal change of use application to convert the facility into a 22-space car park to help resolve parking problems.
However, town councillors want to see a fully thought-out coach parking plan for the town in place before that happens.
Coun Hazel Bettison said: “Until something is put in place properly we are going to be taking coaches out of this town again.
“The county council need to come up with something properly thought out this time – no more white elephants.”
A long-stay coach parking facility is now under construction at the Swan Centre in Tweedmouth, with a short-stay coach parking facility on Walkergate to allow parking for up to two hours.
But Coun Alex Gibson said: “Going up to the Swan Centre is detrimental to the town’s economy. The town relies on tourism and we’re taking it away.
“I have spoken to a coach operator and they will not promote Berwick in the same way as other places because he has to look after his passengers.
“Eighty per cent of those passengers are elderly, some with walking aids, and they need a coach based somewhere they can get back on board once they’ve had refreshments or whatever in the town.
“I could understand taking the coach park away from Chapel Street if we had another place lined up in the vicinity. I personally don’t think we should be getting rid of it.”
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Coun Anne Forbes agreed: “We need to keep a coach park in the town centre. I think it more signage was used it might have a chance.”
Coun Brian Douglas called for the coach park to be created at Castlegate car park.
“The cattle market should be identified as an alternative, although it would need to be realigned.
“Service vehicles use it already so I don’t see why it can’t be done.
“It was a mistake to go to Chapel Street. It was a political decision rather than one made for the town.
“I think we should revisit the cattle market and do a job there to bring people back.”
Coun Karin Graham was the only member who backed plans to convert the coach park back into a car park.
Last week, Berwick Chamber of Trade voiced its concerns about the plan.
The coach park has only been operational since March but has never proved popular, standing empty for long periods.