Progress on parking after talks with rail operators

Cars parked at Alnmouth Railway Station
Cars parked at Alnmouth Railway Station

Plans to develop more parking spaces at Alnmouth Station are moving forward following a meeting between county-council and rail officers.

Last month, the Gazette reported that talks over expanding the car park on the southbound side into Network Rail’s maintenance compound were in the early stages, with the length of time taken to resolve the situation criticised.

At the April meeting of Northumberland County Council’s north area committee, Coun Heather Cairns, who represents the ward, said: “I am very disappointed that we are only in the early stages of negotiations with Network Rail. This has been going on for years. I hope it will get moving quickly.”

A meeting was held last Thursday at County Hall between county-council officers and representatives of Northern Rail and Network Rail to discuss extra parking at both Alnmouth and Berwick stations.

Network Rail explained that their storage areas needed to be near to the track with good access in order to facilitate good business practice.

After much discussion, it was agreed that all prospective sites should be looked at by Network Rail’s local delivery group to see what land could be used for parking – on both sides of the track and also in the coal yard.

A promise was made to take the issue to the group’s next meeting.

It was also pointed out that the franchise for Northern Rail ends in February 2016. A new franchisee might open up further opportunities.

According to Coun Cairns, the council officers made a strong case, saying it was not just about car parking, but about people, business and tourism in Northumberland.

Northumberland County Council has money set aside to improve the station’s car parking in the Local Transport Plan.

Coun Cairns said: “I am pleased that finally we seem to have reached Network Rail representatives and had a discussion, which will mean that plans will go to their Local Delivery group. We should get some answers.”