Northumberland councillor calls for police to tackle 'inconsiderate and dangerous' parking in coastal communities

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A councillor has called on Northumbria Police to take action on ‘inconsiderate and dangerous’ parking on the Northumberland coast.

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, who represents Bamburgh ward on Northumberland County Council, has raised concerns with Kim McGuinness, Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

It followed reports of an ambulance having difficulty responding to an emergency call at James Street in Seahouses.

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In his letter to the commissioner, Cllr Renner-Thompson writes: ‘As I’m sure you are aware, our beautiful Northumberland coastline is experiencing record visitor numbers following the relaxation of domestic COVID restrictions and continuing restrictions on international travel.

James Street in Seahouses.James Street in Seahouses.
James Street in Seahouses.

‘This boom for our vital hospitality industry is most welcome, however the exponential increase of people in our small coastal communities is something which needs careful management to avoid conflict between the needs of visitors and the needs of local people.

‘One such conflict is car parking. I was dismayed at the latest meeting of North Sunderland Parish Council to hear of an ambulance responding to an emergency call unable to reach its patient due to inconsiderate and dangerous parking on James Street in Seahouses. A delay of just a few minutes could be the difference between life and death. I hear similar stories on a regular basis.

‘The county council has invested heavily in improving our carparks, is drawing up plans for further temporary car parks and has consulted residents on ‘resident only’ parking schemes.

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‘I understand the enforcement of yellow lines and other parking restrictions is the responsibility of Northumberland County Council. However, parking causing an obstruction or danger is a police matter, with officers given the power to remove vehicles via ‘The Removal and Disposal of Vehicles (Traffic Officers) (England) Regulations, 2008’.

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson.Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson.
Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson.

‘The county council does not have the authority to remove dangerously parked vehicles from the road.

‘As we head into another busy summer, may I ask that additional police resources are allocated to address this very specific problem on our coast.’

He also asks that 101 phone line operators are made fully aware of the powers and responsibilities of the police ‘to avoid the ‘ping-pong’ of correspondence where residents ring 101 to be told it’s a council issue, only to ring the council to be told it’s an issue for the police’.

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