Evening ban on cars in Market Place proposed

The new parking regime is now operating in Alnwick Market Place.'Picture Jane Coltman
The new parking regime is now operating in Alnwick Market Place.'Picture Jane Coltman

Possible evening restrictions on cars in the Market Place are to be discussed in a bid to prevent boy racers in Alnwick gathering there.

The proposal was brought up at last week’s town council meeting by Alnwick Neighbourhood Sergeant Sharon Wilmore-Greaves, who said that reducing the number of youths congregating there could help to tackle complaints relating to vehicular anti-social behaviour.

She conceded that any restrictions in the Market Place would simply mean that the youths would gather elsewhere and perhaps a place should be found, but said that the market square during summer in a tourist town was not the place for them.

On the wider issue, Sgt Wilmore-Greaves said an operation had been running to tackle anti-social driving, but that police could do nothing when they are simply parked in the Market Place.

Members agreed to set up a working party to investigate possible solutions, including timed barriers or bollards, which would prevent cars from getting in, but allow access if needed for emergency-service vehicles and the likes of Co-op Funeralcare.

However, councillors were adamant that any proposals should not affect parking in the square during the daytime given the pressures in Alnwick and the efforts to get the scheme introduced and away from the previous free-for-all.

After a long-running saga, the new era began back in June 2014 as the new parking regulations came into force, not without complaints.

The scheme, originally agreed in September 2012, was designed to end the chaos of cars parking wherever they want in the square while offering a compromise between vehicular and pedestrian use.

Parking is limited to 30 minutes in the 11 marked bays alongside the Northumberland Hall. There is another bay on the far left for motorbikes and another on the right-hand side for disabled drivers.

There are loading bays to access the businesses in the Market Place on the other three sides of the square.