Parking charges introduced at Howdiemont beach in Northumberland

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Parking charges have been introduced near a popular Northumberland beach.

A daily car parking fee of £3.30 now applies at Sugar Sands beach, also known as Howdiemont Sands.

The measure has been introduced by Howick Trustees Ltd as a way of managing parking and congestion issues and protecting the dunes environment.

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When the proposal was announced last summer, David Baring, chairman of Howick Trustees, in the local community newsletter, wrote that ‘parking on the dunes had become like the wild west’ with the peaceful route to walk down to the beach ‘fraught with dodging hot-hatches’.

Howdiemont Sands, near Howick.Howdiemont Sands, near Howick.
Howdiemont Sands, near Howick.

A statement on the newly-created Longhoughton Beach website explains: ‘As the area has become more popular it has become more challenging to manage. To pay for this there is a charge for parking in the car park. We need to look after the parking area and protect the headlands and beach while making the road down to the beach a safe place for all users.

‘To achieve this the parish council, AONB team (now National Landscapes), the farmers and landowners have all met to look at what can be done. The land is owned by Howick Trustees Ltd, a registered charity, who own and run Howick Hall Gardens and Arboretum. The land is grazed by Lowsteads Farm which helps maintain the biodiversity.

‘By charging for parking we can pay for staff to open and close the car park, making sure the site is clear each day, as well as maintaining the infrastructure. Any surplus income will be used for local charitable endeavours and details of these will be published annually.’

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Visitors had previously been asked to put £1 in an honesty box on Lowsteads Farm.

An ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) camera has now been installed to record entry and exit to and from the car park, with motorists required to pay through the RingGo app or telephone 020 3046 0060 quoting location 34848.

‘Failure to pay for parking will incur a penalty charge from the car park operator,’ the website adds.

Drop-offs of under 30 minutes are still free of charge.

Annual passes are available for £25 and a weekly pass is £9.80. Blue badge holders are not exempt from charges but are able to apply in advance for a discounted rate.

For more information visit

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