Campaigners take a step forward in parking battle

Controversial parking restrictions have been waived in a seaside town, in a move branded a ‘triumph’ and ‘a Christmas present for traders’.

Emotions have been running high in Amble since Northumberland County Council’s civil parking enforcement officers began implementing traffic controls in the town earlier this year.

Critics claim that the traffic wardens are driving trade away from the town and are implementing restrictions along Queen Street which in some cases are no longer relevant.

The strength of feeling in the town was epitomised by a petition started by trader Ann Burke last month which collected more than 3,400 signatures. The document was presented to the county council at its north area committee meeting on Monday.

But now, action is to be taken, following a meeting between members of Amble Town Council, Amble Business Club and county council officers.

The authority is to apply for a temporary traffic regulation order to remove the loading bays on Queen Street and introduce parking facilities.

This will take around four to six weeks for the order to be processed.

In the meantime, as a shorter-term measure, the council is to remove the markings and signage from the loading bays so they will be available for parking use.

Ann, of 42 Queen Street, said: “It is a triumph. It is a start and it is a nice Christmas present for the traders.”

The town’s deputy mayor, Coun Craig Weir, described it as a ‘vote of confidence for common sense’.

He said: “It is a step in the right direction and it is a welcome boost for traders.”

Chairman of Amble Business Club, Colin Harris, welcomed the decision, but is concerned that it could be too little, too late.

“I am delighted that, at last, some common sense has been applied. Hopefully these spaces will be left for shoppers to park there, rather than the businesses.

“But while it is positive in the short term, we are still feeling the effects from the months of restrictions.”

A county council spokeswoman said: “We are looking at a long-term solution on parking in Amble with the town council and the traders.

“We are going to bring in a temporary traffic regulation order to turn loading bays into parking bays in Queen Street, with loading allowed on the single yellow lines opposite.

“Until the temporary traffic regulation order comes through, we are accommodating parking in the loading bays, to assist shoppers and traders in the lead-up to Christmas.”