The merits and drawbacks of a series of proposals to try to tackle parking and traffic problems in Alnmouth were debated earlier this week.
As reported by the Gazette last week, a number of trial schemes, which have developed from an initial public meeting last year at which residents raised concerns, are to be implemented in the seaside village from next month.
The experimental solutions – listed in full below – were discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting of Alnmouth Parish Council, which was also attended by the area’s two county councillors, Gordon Castle and Heather Cairns.
Parish-council chairman, Coun Bill Bourne, said: “I’m very grateful that a number of issues facing the village have been addressed.
“Whatever our reservations, I propose that we accept it in the spirit in which it has been offered and see how it works.
“We have to appreciate that a lot of time, effort and expertise have been put into addressing our problems.”
Later, he added: “We must progress with this or the money will not be spent at all in terms of this village.”
Perhaps one of the most eye-catching proposals is the introduction of a one-way system for a 12-month period.
Coun Castle explained that a clockwise route had been chosen because it takes cars away from the centre of the village and towards parking opportunities, ie, the beach car park, before getting to Riverside Road and Northumberland Street.
“I think we are all in agreement that if there’s a one-way system in Alnmouth, it has to be clockwise,” said Coun Bourne. “Personally though, I have my doubts if we need a one-way system.”
One resident at the meeting, John Taylor, who is a qualified traffic engineer and drew up a report on possible solutions for the village, also said that the one-way system was over the top. “You don’t need to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”
He added: “I think we could do with more consultation, sitting down and looking at the detail and testing each scheme at once.”
But another resident, Catherine White, said: “We have been just over a year and, as a new resident of Alnmouth, I’m very impressed that within a year we have something firm on the table – yes, it’s experimental but at least it’s going forward so I’m very impressed with the county council and parish council.”
Another possible issue is the village’s bus services, which was raised by Coun Sarah Murphy, who said: “My main concern – I know Arriva has agreed – is that as soon as we get a frost, Arriva will stop at the roundabout and we are badly servicing the older people in the village.”
But Coun Cairns said that it was simply a case of gritting the roads and that it was not ‘for us to say if Arriva will renege on it’.
What measures are going to be trialled?
The following changes are being made in the village, with all of the Traffic Regulation Orders for double yellow lines, speed restrictions and one-way streets to be implemented on an experimental basis:
• An experimental one-way system will be introduced in November for a period of 12 months, which will see traffic routed one-way in a southbound direction along Marine Road and back through the village along Northumberland Street in a northbound direction. Traffic will remain two-way on The Wynd, Riverside Road and Argyle Street.
• Parking bays will be marked on Northumberland Street, Riverside Road and Marine Road on both sides of the street, leaving gaps for access to properties.
Some sections of double yellow lines will be introduced on Marine Road to work in conjunction with parking bays to create a staggered effect to slow traffic along the route and formalise parking arrangements.
• Passing points (with double yellow lines) will be designed into the parking scheme on Riverside Road.
• Bus stops will be relocated to the west side of Northumberland Street, adjacent to The Schooner Hotel and Osborne House.
• A 20mph speed limit will be implemented throughout the village.
• As well as near the Duchess’s Bridge, yellow lines will be provided from Lint Gardens to the existing double yellow lines on Northumberland Street and at the other entrance to the roundabout.
• Time-limited parking bays are to be constructed in the existing grass verge on the B1338.
• The 30mph speed limit is being extended on the Foxton road to the access to Mount Pleasant.
• Improved village and car park signs will be provided.
• A residents’ permit parking scheme for Argyle Street is currently being consulted upon with the relevant properties. The deadline for responses is tomorrow, after which a decision will be made on whether to go ahead.
All of the separate elements of this scheme have been designed to address issues raised by people through various consultations in the village.