Critics voice opinions over car-park scheme

The main road leading into Newton-by-the-Sea. The car park is planned just down the road to the right of the picture.
The main road leading into Newton-by-the-Sea. The car park is planned just down the road to the right of the picture.

Concerns have been raised about a proposal to build a new car park in a popular coastal village, with claims that it will cause greater flooding issues and will only benefit one business.

Funding has been secured for Northumberland County Council for the development of a stone-surfaced facility at High Newton-by-the-Sea, catering for 62 vehicles, but not coaches or buses.

The site is located at the north end of an existing agricultural field, which lies east of Newton Hall and the neighbouring caravan park.

On Monday, county councillor Kate Cairns called a public meeting to gauge feedback on the plan, which she said is designed to ‘alleviate car-parking problems in the village’.

Not everyone at the meeting was against the scheme, but a number of residents did raise concerns, including access and safety issues.

There were also claims that, due to its location on the approach to the village, it would end up being used by customers of nearby Newton Hall and The Joiners Arms, run by the Apartment Group.

One resident said: “People ignore the car-parking facilities and restrictions that are in the village already. What’s the demand for this car park? It will cause more flooding, because this field already floods when there is heavy rain.

“I can’t understand why, as a council, we are funding a car park that only one commercial organisation – the Apartment Group – will benefit from.”

Coun Cairns said the car park, which will be free, is a strategic one and believed it would be used by people who visit the village for numerous reasons, not just for The Joiners Arms or Newton Hall.

A county-council officer at the meeting said that other sites had been looked at, but this one was deemed to be the ‘best solution’, and he didn’t believe it would cause a flooding issue.

There have been ‘no out-and-out objections’ from members of the Newton Trust.

The meeting heard that, a few years ago, the Apartment Group had submitted an application for a car park on a site close to the area which is earmarked in the current county-council proposal, but withdrew it due to objections.