New traffic restrictions set to come into force in Northumberland coastal hotspot
A plan designed to reduce traffic congestion in a Northumberland coastal hotspot is set to be introduced.
Craster village and walks to Dunstanburgh are very popular with visitors but the volume of traffic has caused difficulties.
Northumberland County Council is set to introduce new traffic measures which will encourage visitors to park in the designated car park.
The traffic calming scheme will introduce restrictions including a ‘gateway’ where people will be prohibited from passing and driving further into the village unless it is to access their home or a business.
The road will be narrowed at that point, and signs and road markings will indicate that all visitors must park in the car park and use footpaths to access the village centre.
Cllr Wendy Pattison, local county councillor, said: “I am very pleased that this experimental scheme has been agreed, and particularly that we can expect it to be in place from Easter when people will start to be able to meet in limited numbers outdoors.
“The scheme will also have the additional benefits of improving the environment in the village and making it safer and more pleasant to visit. It will also reduce the need for so many signs in the village itself.”
Council leader Glen Sanderson, added: “We hope that it will strike a good balance between the needs of local businesses and residents and those of the many visitors who come to enjoy the local area each year.
“We encourage everyone to drive and park safely and considerately when visiting our popular coastal villages, but there has been a lot of indiscriminate parking in Craster over the years, which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.”
The plan, being introduced on a 12-month trial, has the backing of Craster Parish Council.
Cllr Martin Smith, chairman, said: “We know that this scheme has been given very careful consideration by the highways team at the county council and is a quick win that has been implemented immediately and after review other measures will be considered if necessary.
“Parking is a serious concern for local residents in the village. This is by far the biggest source of complaints to the parish council and last year, as the country came out of a national lockdown, matters reached a tipping point for our community as the enormous influx of visitors and the levels of displaced and inconsiderate parking caused havoc for many in Craster.
“Whilst we welcome tourism as vitally important to our local economy and for sustaining employment, the parking situation in Craster simply cannot and must not be allowed to continue as is at present.
"The parish council has voted in favour of this scheme on a trial basis and we will be part of the ongoing review process to assess the effectiveness of this scheme.”
He added: “We very much hope that this, along with the overflow car park facility the parish council has been working to arrange, will help to alleviate the problems of parking in our community.”