New car park approved for Morpeth town centre
A new 142-bay car park has been approved for Morpeth town centre.
Councillors approved the project for site of the former Morpeth first school on Goose Hill at a meeting on Monday, March 8.
Richard Laughton, a planning officer for Northumberland County Council, cited a parking study conducted by Northumberland County Council which found that parking was a major issue and that this brownfield development site would alleviate this.
He told members the car park should go ahead as the plan’s transport assessment anticipated no significant problems regarding traffic and that the planting of trees and shrubs on the outskirts would “not harm the character” of central Morpeth.
However, there was some opposition to the plans, which include 128 standard and eight disabled bays.
Some objections were based on the traffic assessment only taking place on one day, February 27, 2020, between seven to ten o’clock in the morning and three and seven o’clock in the afternoon, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, with claims this was not a proper reflection of the traffic flow now.
Environmental concerns were also raised, with fears the construction of the car park would result in increased productions of “toxic emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particular matter.”
Cllr Richard Dodd, who represents the Ponteland North was, also raised concerns the car park could potentially worsen what he claimed was Morpeth’s reputation as “the boy racer capital of the county”.
However, Cllr John Benyon, who represents Stobhill, said the car park would help local businesses as part of the Covid-19 recovery.
“Nobody really wants to have car parks in the centre of town but it’s a necessity,” he said.
Pegswood councillor David Towns added the project was “looking towards the future” and it was a better alternative than “flogging this land off for even more houses and flats”.
The council subsequently approved a parking management plan with a view to include CCTV cameras and review of the project in 12 months.
The proposal was granted by 10 votes and one abstention from Councillor Glen Sanderson.