A leading councillor has tried to allay concerns about plans to build a car park on Amble’s Braid, adding ‘our wish is to do what we can to help the town’.
Emotions are running high about Northumberland County Council’s proposal to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to de-register a strip of land as village green.
The area in question is open grassland in the centre of The Braid, adjacent to the access road to the Marina and public footpath to the town centre.
The aim is to allow car parking on that stretch ‘at times of peak demand’. In return, a nearby piece of land would be registered as village green.
It has split opinion, with the Open Spaces Society objecting and the Keep Our Village Green protest group being formed.
However, Coun Glen Sanderson, Cabinet member for local services, has tried to explain the rationale behind the plan. He said: “I understand why some residents have concerns about the proposal. For many years, the county council has looked at options to increase parking in Amble and officers have spent time talking to local people.
“The administration is keen to inject pace into this issue and to try to make progress. At present, there are not many options for us to look at, but as The Braid has been suggested by a number of people in the town as being a good location, we are taking this forward as a possible car-parking solution.
“No one option will please everyone. To reassure people, should this application be successful, then a full planning application would then need to be made in which local residents and businesses would be fully involved. A key part of this would entail diverting the footpath to ensure that there was no conflict between vehicles and pedestrians and to ensure the layout, surface and capacity was appropriate.
“Our wish is to do what we can – with very limited options – to help Amble’s visitors, businesses and residents.”
Last week, Warkworth Parish Council said that it wanted the village green preserved. Members were not necessarily opposed to a car park in the area, but were against the proposed design, saying it is unsympathetic and splits the village green in two.