A proposed pilot scheme to try to tackle parking problems in and around Alnmouth Station has split opinion, with some saying it is a good idea, while others believe it would penalise locals.
Last week, we revealed that Northumberland County Council is considering a pay-to-park trial at Alnmouth Station.
The idea is to charge £3 a day on the council-owned facility on the northbound-platform side.
Income from the fees would be used for a study to identify long-term parking solutions and any changes to layout/landscaping which could provide extra capacity.
The parking charge would be supplemented by a trial residents-only parking-permit scheme at nearby Hipsburn, along with extra single yellow lines in the village to prevent illegal and anti-social parking.
The permit would be free during the trial, but would cost £15-a-year if it was implemented full time.
A permanent, maximum 72-hour stay restriction is already due to come into effect this summer at the council-owned station car park.
At the moment, there would be no change at the southbound side, which is managed by Network Rail and is currently free and has no length-of-stay restriction.
The news prompted a lengthy debate on our Facebook page, with Gazette readers sharing their thoughts.
Paula Young wrote: ‘I think it’s a brilliant idea, everyone might be able to park up okay for a day out.
‘The amount of cars I have seen parked up and been there for days on end, hogging spaces. A charge would not bother me.’
Louise Hedley added that she ‘totally gets a £3 a day charge’, while Lynne Hindmarsh said it was ‘about time’.
But not all are in favour. Mark Andrew Saunders wrote: ‘Residents of Alnwick, Amble, Warkworth, etc are going to be financially penalised for using the train. Using it just once a week will put an extra £160 pa on travel costs. Why can’t we have a parking permit for £15 like the Hipsburn residents? After all, we are all Northumbrians.’
Karen Hardy added: ‘My daughter pays a fortune for the train, five, sometimes six days a week for work. This is a lot of money to fork out a week.’
Richard Hodgson posted: ‘Don’t target the daily commuters, they are locals who add to the community. Target the people who leave their cars all week then arrive at their second homes on a weekend. Amazing how many spaces would become available I bet.’
Meanwhile, Lynne Livsey wrote: ‘Can’t see how that will solve the parking problems. Need to increase the number of spaces and invest in a shuttle bus to encourage people to use public transport.’
Geoff Potts added: ‘The problem is not enough parking places. What sort of genius thinks making people pay for parking and reducing the number of parking places will fix this?’
The parking restriction was also scrutinised. Anne Shilton wrote: ‘Would rather pay than risk being unable to park. But don’t like the idea of 72-hour restriction. Still think that even with a charge, the car parks are still too small.’
Ian Sheel posted: ‘48-hour restriction for both sides and leave it free. It’s the cars left days that cause the issues. Why should commuters who already pay a fortune be penalised? Also, why do poor residents in Hipsburn have to pay for a residents’ permit to park outside their own houses?’
People are invited to a drop-in event next Thursday, at Lesbury Village Hall from 3.30pm to 7.30pm, to give their views on the proposal.
The council will consider the feedback and, depending on the outcome, the trial could be introduced this summer.