Northumberland coastal village seeks fresh solution to parking problems
An independent study is to be carried out in Craster in an attempt to come up with a solution to parking problems.
The decision was agreed by Craster Parish Council following a public meeting in which 29 of 33 residents voted in favour of the proposal.
An experimental traffic management plan was introduced by Northumberland County Council in April with restrictions including a ‘gateway’ to encourage visitors into the main car park and signage prohibiting drivers from driving further into the village unless it is to access their home or a business.
However, villagers say it is not working and have blamed a lack of enforcement, poor signage and inconsiderate visitors.
Cllr Martin Smith, parish council chairman, said: “The officers at the county council are the experts who deal with this day in and day out and we don’t so it was voted on to get our own independent consultant, a professional in this area, to look at what the options are. I would hope it will give them something to consider.”
The parish council has previously sought a residents’ permit parking zone but highways officers consider it inappropriate.
The remit of the independent study will be to review the system that’s in place, suggest improvements and give a view on whether a residents’ parking scheme would be appropriate for Craster and, if not, suggest any alternatives.
Michael Robson, speaking at a parish council meeting, said: “There is feeling within the community about this. What concerns me is that visitors in the future may not get the welcome that they ought to.
“They (county council) don’t want to upset the tourists but I believe it’s time they took on board the feelings of the residents as well as the tourists.”
Safety concerns about vehicles and pedestrians mixing on narrow streets were also raised.
Robin McCartney, county council highways infrastructure manager, said: "We’ve tried to come up with a scheme to encourage visitors into the car park. That has proven to be a success.
“The evidence we have to date is that there are always spaces available within Craster for residents to park and the bulk of visitors go into the car park.
"I appreciate people who want a residents’ parking scheme are not happy but there are key issues which make it inappropriate.”