Angry islanders call for parking to be addressed

Chare Ends, Holy Island.
Chare Ends, Holy Island.

Holy Island residents have reacted with dismay to news that road repairs at the main car park will not happen this year.

Work at Chare Ends car park was pencilled in for the current financial year but has been delayed for 12 months for new plans to be drawn up.

The matter was brought up by parish council chairman Simon Bevan at a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s north area committee on Monday night.

He explained: “During the autumn, storms undercut the road when you turn onto the island proper. A very temporary repair was carried out on the road up to the car park exit but this was to be upgraded in early 2015 and completed by mid-July. It’s disappointing we have heard nothing more about this.”

Graham Bucknall, highways manager for the north area, responded: “I have spoken to integrated transport and they tell me the money that’s in for this year at Chare Ends is only for design.

“There will be no work this year, it will be next year. From what I can gather, they came across fibreoptic cables which will have to be diverted.”

Coun Dougie Watkin, member for Norham and Islandshires, admitted: “It’s a shame the car park work has had to be put back a year.”

Concerns were also raised about parking congestion on the island in the peak summer months.

Dick Patterson, chairman of the island’s community trust, said: “Holy Island is a honeypot for Northumberland and there’s no question that a lot of people on the island make a living from tourism.

“We have been talking for 20 years to get something done about parking on the island. Some of us can’t get out of our doors due to visitors parking. The island would be a better place for visitors if something was done about it. We don’t want those who come here in July and August saying it was horrendous because it was jam-packed and choked up with vehicles.”

Coun Bevan also raised road safety concerns about the causeway linking Holy Island to the mainland.

He called for marker posts to be erected on the mainland side of the bridge.

“It’s a hazard for drivers, particularly at night, and there’s a steep drop there,” he said.

Graham Bucknall, highways manager for the north area, said the matter could be looked at.

Coun Bevan also called for more regular sweeping of sand off the causeway.

“It’s very bad when there are spring tides,” he said.

But Mr Bucknall believed the road was still swept every fortnight.

Concerns were also raised about the potholes and verges between Beal Lonnen and the causeway. Ideally, he felt the road should be widened.

Mr Bucknall agreed that repairs were needed and would pursue the matter.