A row has erupted in Amble after part of a beauty spot has been turned into a temporary car park, in a bid to tackle the town’s traffic problems.
Parking has been allowed on an area of The Braid during the summer season on a trial period.
Northumberland County Council has said that it has been working closely with Amble Town Council, development trust and the business community to come up with ways of improving parking provision.
The authority says that one of these was for the temporary ‘overspill’ facility on the Braid during the peak summer season.
The move has caused some concern with local people. Worried resident Jennifer Dunn, who lives in Wellwood Street, wrote to the Gazette to highlight her concerns.
She said: “Amble is a town on the up and while business is an important part of a thriving community, it should not be at the cost to that community of taking over a green and pleasant land and turning it into a car park simply to maintain profit margins.”
She feels it is not an accurate trial, claiming that drivers are being directed to use the temporary facility on the Braid, instead of the Braid’s main car park, which could give inaccurate data when the scheme is analysed.
Ann Burke, chairman of the town’s business club, said that moves are being made to find a solution to the lack of long-stay car parking in Amble and other possibilities are being looked at. She said: “We thought we would try the Braid in the summer, but are open to any solutions that people can come up with.”
She said that people using the facility have been subjected to abuse from some critics, such as dog walkers.
Amble mayor Craig Weir said it was an initiative that was being tried and he welcomed the county council’s efforts to explore different solutions, adding: “We will continue to do different initiatives until we sort out the problem.”
The county council said the temporary ‘overspill’ car park will not be permanent and will be monitored, along with other planned initiatives.