‘Visitors could be deterred’

Neil Forsyth, of Seahouses.
Neil Forsyth, of Seahouses.

A north Northumberland businessman has voiced his concerns about how traffic wardens – and their attitude – may impact on tourism.

Neil Forsyth, of Seahouses, runs holiday-cottage firm Stay Northumbria and a recent run-in with one of Northumberland County Council’s civil enforcement officers (CEOs) left him fuming.

And while he feels that the penalty notice was unwarranted, his main gripe was the aggressive attitude of the CEO – something which he is concerned would put off tourist or visitors from returning to north Northumberland.

Mr Forsyth, who also runs a business selling T-shirts, etc, called Briny Lines, was delivering to one of his outlets – Drift on Main Street – earlier this month, on a Thursday morning, and stopped outside the store on the double yellow lines.

When he came out, the CEO was starting to issue the notice and Mr Forsyth explained he was a business and was delivering.

According to the county council, motorists may temporarily park on double/single yellow lines when they are loading/unloading heavy, bulky or numerous items. Loading/unloading must be continuous and when finished the vehicle must be moved to a legitimate parking place.

Mr Forsyth said: “This guy was pumped up, red in the face and verbally aggressive, without swearing.

“I actually felt intimidated, even as an ex-rugby player.”

“We spend a fortune advertising for punters to come up here and if this happens, what are they going to think?”

A county council spokeswoman said: “Our CEOs are trained in customer services and conflict management and the council expects them to behave in a courteous manner at all times while carrying out their duties.

“We take all complaints seriously and would encourage anyone who has a complaint to get in touch with us. This can be done either by telephone to our customer contact centre or by email to parkingservices @northumberland.gov.uk”