Changes affecting the length of stay in Alnwick’s car parks will do nothing to solve the town’s traffic problems, critics have claimed.
Northumberland County Council has announced that new timings will come into force on November 5, following the implementation of its new car parking strategy and a period of public consultation.
However, charges for on and off-street pay and display tickets will not increase, it has been confirmed.
Alnwick will see greater flexibility in off-street car parks, including the main Greenwell Road car park, through the introduction of a new tariff which will allow users to park from half-an-hour to all day.
Market Street and Bondgate Within on-street parking has been increased from one to two hours, in line with other town-centre parking, while Pottergate on-street parking has reduced from four to three hours’ maximum stay.
But Coun Gordon Castle says it will not solve key issues, including turn-over of spaces and what he describes as the ‘injustice’ of free parking in the south east of the county.
“While I welcome the flexibility at Greenwell Lane, I have a feeling that an increased length of stay on-street will lead to difficulties,” he said. “The whole thing seems confused.
“The executive, in its review of parking, said it wanted to encourage shorter stays in town centres, yet here in Alnwick the length of time you can stay is being doubled.”
He added: “The whole parking situation remains unfair and unjust to market towns like ours, as long as there is free parking in the south east of the county. If given the opportunity, I would remove all charges for residents, so that only visitors pay.”
Carlo Biagioni, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade, said: “We asked for free parking on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays, but the council has not listened. This will make no difference to Alnwick or solve its parking problems.
“We’re back to the same old issue – all the market towns are being penalised by parking charges while the south east gets off free. But we’ve been banging this drum for years.”