Tackling thorny issue of parking with a change of village greens

The parking proposals for the centre of Rothbury.
The parking proposals for the centre of Rothbury.

Proposals to overhaul the centre of Rothbury to try to improve parking and traffic flow have been drawn up by the county council.

The plans were unveiled by Coun Steven Bridgett at last Wednesday’s meeting of Rothbury Parish Council, where he said that they were likely to change and that there was going to be plenty of public consultation. He added that he had already shared them with members of the public and had some good responses.

Coun Bridgett explained that the scheme before councillors would not go ahead as it was because the changes involved the loss of 10 parking spaces from the centre of the village.

“Unless we can provide them – or greater than the 10 – elsewhere, I would not endorse the scheme they are proposing,” he said.

One solution for this is to provide the spaces on the village green in front of Stephenson’s Terrace, although this would require the land to be deregistered as a village green, which costs around £4,900.

To replace the lost land, the areas next to the Newcastle Arms Hotel and National Park office, in front of the parish hall and next to the church could be registered as village greens.

Explaining the wider proposals, Coun Bridgett said that the War Memorial has been hit numerous times by cars and young mums have asked for a crossing point further up in the village.

The scheme would introduce one opposite the Newcastle Arms Hotel, moving the herring-bone parking back, and create a raised pedestrian walkway around the War Memorial.

Down from the Turk’s Head to the Co-op would be one-way and the exit point would be in front of Otterburn Mill. What is also proposed is an island, moving the exit point further up away from the exit of Providence Lane and Woodlands.

“It also means we can reorganise the street lighting around that area, make it much better than it currently is and provide more planters, seating and cycle racks,” said Coun Bridgett.

He continued: “We have tried to tackle parking in Rothbury for more than 30 years. The problem in the past is that no one would agree.”

Chairman Coun Mark Gilson said: “If, at the end of the day, we have the same number of parking places and a more beautifully laid-out village, I don’t see why anyone can possibly object.”

Coun Bridgett added: “This won’t be the final plan. For once, I can say the county council will listen to what the residents say. This is not a plan for the whole village though, this is just one thing we are looking at at the moment.”

The parish council had received a letter from Clive Wilkinson on the danger for pedestrians on Bridge Street.

Coun Helen Walklett said that the issue, which really extends to Church Street, Haw Hill and that entire area, had been put back on the list of priorities for the Local Transport Plan.

Coun Bridgett said that the work on parking and highways was being done in stages this time to try to ensure there is consensus, which had been an issue in the past.

“Bridge Street is one of the future stages, but it is not top of the list now,” he said.