Informal parking on the old high-school site in Alnwick could be in place in the next couple of weeks, council bosses have said.
Coun Glen Sanderson, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member for local services, revealed that the authority hopes to have cleared an area of the former Duchess’s Community High School site, on Howling Lane, to allow for some informal parking by Christmas.
Recent consultation revealed that residents would like the site to be used for parking and affordable housing, both of which will require planning permission, but this offers an interim opportunity while the next formal steps are taken.
The news came as the council’s communities and place committee discussed a report providing updates on a raft of measures to improve parking across Northumberland, backed by a £10million funding pot, on Wednesday.
The move will provide more long-stay spaces in Alnwick – one of the goals of the action plan for the market town, which was drawn up in consultation with local stakeholders based on the outcomes of an independent study commissioned by the county council.
Ironically, the pressure on long-stay spaces, particularly for workers looking to park all day, has recently increased due to the implementation of one of the other goals of the action plan, which saw spaces converted to short-stay at the Greenwell Lane part A car park to ensure visitors and tourists could park.
In October, a call to introduce workers’ parking permits in Alnwick, backed by an almost 400-name petition, was rejected.
When discussed by the council’s petitions committee, the prospect of extra parking was highlighted as one of the measures which meant that the permits were not the best way forward in the local authority’s view, as well as the recently-implemented 24-hour maximum-stay restriction in all town-centre car parks.
Meanwhile, at nearby Alnmouth Station, the previously-announced parking charges are likely to be introduced soon with the council awaiting the delivery of the ticket machines which need to be installed.
Parking on the council-owned, northbound-platform side will cost £1.50 a day, while a 72-hour maximum stay has already been introduced, as part of a bid to tackle long-running issues which have plagued the station and surrounding area.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service