Hopes summer parking problems will help drive for sustainable tourism on Northumberland coast

A councillor hopes tourism related issues on the Northumberland coast could finally now be addressed.

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson was speaking at a Beadnell Parish Council meeting about the recent coastal summit organised by Northumberland County Council.

Concerns about parking, traffic congestion, litter and overnight camping were the main issues raised by key stakeholders at the summit after a summer of unprecedented visitor numbers.

That is backed up by statistics which show hotspots such as Bamburgh had an 85% increase in visitors to its main car park in September 2020 compared to September 2019, with Beadnell up 67% for the same period.

Beadnell overflow car park last summer.

"These are issues people who live on the coast have been talking about for a long time,” he said.

"The tourism strategy has previously been about getting more people into Northumberland to make more money.

"This summer highlighted things we’ve been saying for years – that we don’t have the infrastructure for those numbers of people.

"We just want a sustainable tourism industry and I think that message has been picked up at County Hall now.”

Cllr Alison Nation, parish council chairman, had used the summit to call for financial support from the county council by covering the costs of keeping the public toilets open during the winter.

"Perhaps it’s something that could be waived by the county council to support this community,” she said.

"There has been a commitment to capital investment in the public toilets with funding agreed for work at Holy Island and Seahouses but there was a statement made that all the others would be refurbished in the next two years and I understand that includes Beadnell.”

Meanwhile, a fly-tipping incident at St Ebba’s Neuk with garden waste and concrete dumped near the sailing club was reported by Cllr Renner-Thompson.

He also provided an update on potential Local Transport Plan funding for 2021/22, although it remains provisional on the final funding settlement.

"The B1340 from Newton Barns to Tughall Lodge doing structural repairs and patching is on the list and so it surface treatment from Chathill to the Swinhie crossroads so fingers crossed they will start in the new financial year,” he said.

Cllr Adrian Baker said a proposal for a footpath linking Longbeach Drive with St Ebba’s Way is being progressed.

Trees donated by the Woodland Trust are being planted on St Ebba’s Way to mark National Tree Planting Week. The scheme is being coordinated through Beadnell in Bloom.

The parish council agreed to undertake minor repairs of under £250 to the Bullring fence when needed.

Cllr Jen Hall asked whether the North Northumberland neighbourhood plan could be reviewed to see if any improvements could be made.

"Personally, I’d be very keen to review the demolish and rebuild and see if that could be included in the permanent residency,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s possible but it would be a really popular policy if it was.”

Cllr Renner-Thompson reported that the neighbourhood plan probably needed more time to ascertain what is working and what is not but he would seek formal advice.

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