Pay-to-park proposal for Alnmouth rail station

Have your say on parking at Alnmouth Station.
Have your say on parking at Alnmouth Station.

A pilot scheme to introduce a £3-a-day parking charge at Alnmouth Station could start in the coming months, in a bid to tackle parking problems.

It comes as a permanent, maximum 72-hour stay restriction is already due to come into effect this summer.

Both aspects are earmarked for the northbound-platform side, which is owned by Northumberland County Council.

At the moment, there would be no change at the southbound side, which is managed by Network Rail – which is free to park and has no length-of-stay restrictions.

To supplement the parking-charge trial, a residents-only parking-permit scheme would be tested in Hipsburn, with extra single yellow lines in the village to prevent illegal and anti-social parking.

Income generated from the charges would cover the cost of implementing the new arrangements and also help contribute towards a study to identify long-term improvements to parking capacity and facilities at the station, as well as any changes to existing layouts/landscaping within the car park that can be implemented quickly to provide some extra capacity.

Any remaining income will help contribute to the delivery of vital public services in the county, such as highway maintenance.

The trial arrangements for the station and in Hipsburn are being proposed by the county council.

Residents are being invited to a special drop-in event to give their views on these proposals.

The drop-in session will be held at Lesbury Village Hall from 3.30pm to 7.30pm on Thursday, June 28. Details of the proposals will be on display and council officers will be there to answer any queries.

The county council will then consider the feedback and, depending on the outcome, the trial could be introduced later this summer.

It follows long-standing issues about parking problems and congestion at the station and in neighbouring streets.

The trial proposals come following work between the county council, local county councillors Gordon Castle and Robbie Moore, and Lesbury Parish Council to find a sustainable long-term solution.

Coun Glen Sanderson, Cabinet member for environment and local services at the county council, said: “We have been working to develop a comprehensive solution for the area.

“We know there is frustration and annoyance from Hipsburn residents about anti-social and dangerous parking in the village, while some people are leaving cars parked in our station car park for days and sometimes weeks on end, taking up spaces which are designed for commuters.

“To ensure a scheme is developed that works for both residents and travellers we want local people to get involved and I’d encourage as many people as possible to take part in our drop-in session.”

Coun Gordon Castle said: “I very much welcome these proposals that have been a long time coming, but which have closely involved the parish council on behalf of local people whose lives have been adversely affected by problem-parking.

“The residents’ parking proposals are for a trial period that will be properly evaluated.”

He added that permits would be free during the trial period, but a £15-a-year charge would come into effect if the scheme was made permanent.

Coun Doug Hunter, chairman of Lesbury Parish Council, said: “Residents are affected by ever-increasing parking problems around the station and it’s important we look to address these issues. We’re working closely with the county council and the local county councillors to identify a solution that works for all.

“It’s important to note that this is a trial and residents would be consulted again at the end of the trial period for feedback on whether the scheme has worked and the situation has improved.”