Limited parking to return

Cars parked in Alnwick Market Place.
Cars parked in Alnwick Market Place.
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Plans to put parking bays in Alnwick Market Place look set to get the green light to deal with ‘continuous illegal parking’ in the square.

At next Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s planning and environment committee, members are recommended to approve a new restricted parking zone, replacing the existing ‘pedestrians only’ order, which is widely ignored.

The scheme would see 12 parking bays, including a disabled space without a time limit, as well as a bay for motorbikes, put in along the Northumberland Hall.

Businesses would be catered for by three designated loading areas, one on each of the other three sides.

The parking bays would have a time limit of 30 minutes, with the aim of allowing customer turnover for the businesses in the square.

The scheme was developed by a working group set up in July to come up with a solution to the Market Place, which at times resembles a free-for-all with cars parked all over.

The current restriction is a moving traffic offence, which must be enforced by Northumbria Police and by its nature is difficult to do so.

The report to members says: “The outcome is a restriction that is ignored and therefore no longer effective for this particular area.”

It adds that ‘due to the number of illegally-parked vehicles, loading requirements for the businesses in the area are made increasingly difficult’.

The new scheme will allow Northumberland County Council, which took over parking enforcement this year, to monitor the Market Place.

Consultation with residents and statutory bodies found seven in favour of the proposals and five against.

Among these is Alnwick Civic Society, which does not support any parking in the Market Place, but recognises the need for loading which should be time limited.

Some responses also made a request for more loading bays, but the report explains that the proposal ‘seeks a fair balance between loading opportunities and promoting business use through short-stay parking’.