Plans for a new car park in a ‘honeypot’ village on the north Northumberland coast which is plagued by parking issues have been approved.
On Tuesday, Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee agreed unanimously to approve the scheme for a stone-surfaced facility at High Newton-by-the-Sea, catering for 62 vehicles, but not coaches or buses.
The site is located at the north end of an existing agricultural field, which lies over the road from Newton Hall Caravan Park.
Parking will be free of charge and it is hoped that this will encourage motorists to use the new facility and ease pressure on the beach car park, which does charge, as well as the village itself.
At a public meeting in June, concerns were raised that it will cause greater flooding issues and will only benefit one business – The Apartment Group, which runs nearby Newton Hall and The Joiners Arms.
And at Tuesday’s meeting, resident Margaret Grieves spoke in opposition to the scheme, raising safety issues related to pedestrian and vehicular access and concerns over flooding.
But the county councillor for the area, Coun Kate Cairns, and the chairman of the parish council, John Roper, both spoke in support of the scheme, with the latter saying: “We do hope this rare, one-off funding opportunity is not missed.”
Supporting the proposals, Coun Richard Dodd said: “There is a problem with parking here. I welcome the fact that something is going to change.”
Reacting to the decision, Coun Cairns said: “I am delighted that the planning committee voted unanimously to support the application for a 60-space new free car park at High Newton.
“This proposal was the result of a great deal of hard work by councillors, which involved negotiations with the landowner, the leader of the council and county-council officers.
“I thank the leader of the council for adding his support to this proposal; I, as the county councillor, and the parish council appreciate the significant investment made by the administration in this very small village so attractive to tourists and local visitors.”