A new era in the long-running saga of Alnwick’s Market Place began on Monday as new parking regulations came into force.
The scheme, originally agreed in September 2012, is designed to end the chaos of cars parking wherever they want in the square while offering a compromise between vehicular and pedestrian use.
And three days in, the regime, featuring marked car-parking spaces and loading bays, seems to be doing the trick.
Mayor of Alnwick Bill Grisdale was pleased with how the first few days had gone.
“All in all, I think people see the sense of it and say it looks better,” he said.
“It’s not perfect, but it does look better. Compromise is never pretty, but it seems to be working fairly well.
“I must praise the traffic wardens for their patience; they have been very understanding and warning people, giving a week’s grace for handing out tickets.”
Town and county councillor Gordon Castle said: “I’m cautiously optimistic that it’s going to go okay. I thought it was looking a great deal better and was much better from the point of view of pedestrians.”
He also said that there seemed to be a high turnover of spaces, which are limited to 30 minutes, ‘so it’s meeting that objective’.
“We will give it a year and see how it has done,” he added. “I don’t think it will end up being the worst problem with parking – I think we will have to look at the long-stay situation.”
There are a few issues which need ironing out such as the lack of clear designation for the separate motorcycle and disabled bays. Also, some motorists are parking in the loading bays, which are designed for deliveries to the businesses.
Regarding the look of the painted white lines, Coun Castle said that county-council officers and town councillors are to go on a site visit to decide whether to allow the lines to weather naturally or to ask the contractor to revisit it, which would put the parking spaces out of action for a time.
Parking is limited to 30 minutes in the 11 marked bays alongside the Northumberland Hall. There is another bay on the far left for motorbikes and another on the right-hand side for disabled drivers. There are loading bays to access the businesses in the Market Place on the other three sides of the square.