Town councillors in Alnwick have drawn up an action plan to tackle parking problems in the town in the short, medium and long term.
The council agrees that the major issue in Alnwick is that car parking is at capacity, specially during the summer months, and action is required to address this.
The plan follows the recent parking study, carried out by independent consultants, which was one of several arranged by the county council for market towns in Northumberland.
WYG Transport Planning’s survey found that Alnwick requires at least 150 additional spaces at peak times.
Measures which the town council wishes to see take place in the short term, that is within one year, include the conversion of some of the town’s long-stay parking to short-stay.
They want to see 80 spaces in Greenwell Lane car park A (directly behind the Playhouse) converted to short-stay and, for consistency, the short-stay spaces in car park D to be made the same duration – three hours.
The council also supports the changing of the spaces outside Costa to a 30-minute limit, down from two hours, and the introduction of a 24-hour limit in all car parks, to prevent people from leaving vehicles for days at a time.
In terms of increasing the off-street capacity, councillors are calling for ‘dialogue with The Alnwick Garden to review its role in relieving town-centre pressure’ as well as investigating possible new sites – the old Duchess’s Community High School and the St Michael’s school field adjacent to the bowling club (seasonal).
Other elements in the action plan include the introduction of seasonal time restrictions for the summer months, considering Pottergate for additional parking, better signage to parking, improved electric car and cycling infrastructure, and for developers to contribute to relieve parking pressures.
The town council also wants the county council ‘to resolve long-standing ownership issues at Roxburgh Place car park and look to secure improvements’ and to investigate the feasibility of decking Greenwell Lane car park D to provide an additional storey.
Last month, we reported that town councillors had said that the possible reintroduction of parking charges in Alnwick to manage demand at peak times should be considered as well as a park and ride scheme.
These are both included in the action plan, although a seasonal park and ride scheme is medium timescale, meaning two to three years, while parking charges – potentially for the high season with the first two hours free – are for a medium to long timescale, so neither are suggested as an immediate solution.