Alnwick man paints bright protest message on house in anger at parking permit scheme

A furious home owner who has brightly daubed a protest message on the front of his house insists that it is unlikely to removed any time soon.

By Gavin Ledwith
Friday, 21 June, 2019, 17:00
The message daubed outside the house in St Michael's Lane.

George Groom has taken the step in frustration at Northumberland County Council’s decision to increase the cost of parking permits in his Alnwick street from £15 to £25.

Mr Groom, 47, feels it is unfair that residents have to pay to park outside their doors when other motorists can park there for free for two hours while visiting the nearby town centre.

Furious homeowner George Groom.

The yellow message outside his St Michael’s Lane home reads: “Residents now have to pay £25 for a parking permit. Visit Alnwick and park any where for free. Thanks for that NCC.” 

Father-of-one Mr Groom, a mechanic, whose family have campaigned against the permit system for around a decade, said: “It will certainly stay up in the near future until we can hopefully get Northumberland County Council to speak to residents here.

“It’s not the cost that upsets me. It’s the principle. Even if they were to turn round and say to us that we could have the first permit for free it would be a start.”

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He added: “The reaction has been mainly positive. The people in the street are all behind it. Why should we pay? And it is not just St Michael’s Lane. It has got people talking about parking issues in other areas of Alnwick.”

Alnwick Conservative county councillor Gordon Castle, however, insisted he had received “several complaints”, adding: “This is a conservation area and unacceptable.

“Imagine if you were a business and you wrote something like that. I am trying to see what we can do as a council.”    

A county council spokesperson said the £15 permit charge remained unaltered for more than 10 years and had not met the scheme’s admninistrative costs.

They continued. "A new annual charge of £25 per permit has therefore been agreed as part of the council's budget setting process. This fee is lower than many other local authority schemes.   "We appreciate that this may be viewed as a significant increase, but it must be looked at in the context of there having been no increase for 10 years and the council's need to protect vital frontline services.”