The county council reconvenes next week after the summer and the Tories are already looking to Christmas with a bid for free parking in the county’s market towns.
Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland Conservatives, has put forward a motion to the full meeting of Northumberland County Council next Wednesday calling for a period of free parking in the run-up to Christmas, as per last year.
Last year, a similar motion was made, but much later in the year, which sparked some criticism that it was difficult to organise with so little notice.
The motion reads: ‘Market towns and their local businesses lie at the very heart of Northumberland’s economy.
‘Yet, for many years, some of those towns have suffered from the effects of an unfair car-parking policy.
‘There is evidence that charging for car parking does distort trade and drive shoppers away from our high streets. It is also evident that the Christmas shopping period is absolutely vital to the survival of many businesses in our market towns.
‘So, during December 2013, this council resolves to reinstate free car parking during the days before Christmas in Berwick, Alnwick, Hexham and Morpeth with a view to providing an immediate boost to local trade.
‘The free parking period is to begin at 0700 hours on Monday, December 16. to continue to Wednesday, December 25.
‘The free car parking will apply to off-street car parks with the same arrangements as last year. Traffic congestion will continue to be regulated by strict policing of the existing time controls for each car park’.