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Traders hope for boost as free parking arrives

Carlo Biagioni, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade, Northumberland County Councillor Ian Swithenbank and Mayor of Alnwick, Bill Grisdale.

Carlo Biagioni, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade, Northumberland County Councillor Ian Swithenbank and Mayor of Alnwick, Bill Grisdale.

Many have campaigned for it, many have called for it and as of Tuesday, parking charges are no more in the majority of north Northumberland’s towns and villages.

Northumberland County Council’s proposal to allow towns and parishes to decide the future of parking in their areas came into action on April 1 – and it wasn’t a joke.

It means that the county’s market towns, including Alnwick, are now on a level playing field with the south-east of the county, long a complaint of traders and businesses in the north and west.

Carlo Biagioni, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade, said: “The first two days have gone very smoothly and the transition from parking charges to being free has gone well.

“I think it will improve trade in the town once it’s been advertised, not just in Alnwick, but in all the market towns.

“In the last four or five years, we were left with parking charges, but now I think a lot of people who would like to come into the town just for a newspaper or a pint of milk can come and use their disc.”

As time limits still apply, motorists must use parking discs in short-stay car parks or on-street spaces.

As of Tuesday, the county council had distributed around 76,500 free discs across the county, with support in Alnwick from the town council and chamber of trade.

 

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