More than 600 extra car-parking spaces are needed in four Northumberland market towns, with a quarter of those required in Alnwick, a study has found.
The county council commissioned consultants to undertake parking studies and survey work in the market towns of Alnwick, Berwick, Hexham and Morpeth to help develop options for future parking needs in these busy market towns.
Work is now being undertaken to seek the views and opinions of county councillors, town councils and other key stakeholders on the findings of the consultants’ studies and their suggested recommendations on a range of potential measures that could help address the issues in the four towns.
The study has found many of the issues identified are common to all of the towns, however, there are also some key differences so the strategies will need to be tailored to the local needs and circumstances.
Based on current levels of use and predicted growth in demand, it has been estimated that the additional capacity needed within the next couple of years is 150 spaces in Alnwick, 145 in Hexham, 146 in Morpeth and 187 in Berwick. The forecast figure for Berwick assumes the current temporary overflow car park at Castlegate, which provides 141 spaces, isn’t available in the long term.
The report states that measures which could be considered are increasing off-street car park capacity, converting some long-stay parking to short-stay, promoting sustainable transport options and reviewing on-street car parking arrangements.
There are also a number of suggestions specific to each town that could be considered. However, councillors have ruled out any county-wide reintroduction of parking charges.
In a joint statement, Alnwick county councillors Robbie Moore and Gordon Castle said: “We welcome this comprehensive parking review across the major market towns in Northumberland.
“We wish to emphasise that this will not result in top-down, across-the-board policies being imposed, but one which recognises the special differences between each market town.
“Alnwick’s parking problems are highly seasonal with large visitor numbers needing to be taken into account, so it is vital that we tailor our solutions to the town’s needs.
We recognise that there is no easy way forward and we therefore intend to interact with the town council who will have a major voice in all changes.
“We look forward to making progress before the summer.”