Parking blow for popular Northumberland coastal village as three potential sites ruled out by AONB
Hopes that additional parking could be found in a popular coastal village appear to have been dashed.
Alnmouth Parish Council invited Iain Robson manager of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, to view three potential sites.
They were in the dunes below Dr Joy’s Garden at the bottom of Northumberland Street, on the Hipsburn side of the Duchess Bridge and at the bottom of Garden Terrace.
But Mr Robson concluded: “Having considered the three sites proposed for additional car parking in Alnmouth and assessed the impact of each against the special qualities of the AONB, we feel that all three sites would negatively impact on the landscape and important habitats and that impact could not easily be mitigated. The AONB Partnership could not support car parking provision on any of the three sites put forward.”
The AONB is only one of many statutory consultees, with any final decision taken by Northumberland County Council, but parish councillors felt the three sites in question were now unlikely to make progress without support from the AONB.
Chairman Shaun Whyte said: “I’d like to draw a line under the possibility of getting any parking on these three sites. It’s just not going to happen. If anyone else can come up with another site in the village then please feel free.”
“We don’t know what’s going to happen post-Covid but everyone is expecting this summer to be really busy.”
But he also noted that the beach car park is very rarely full and the burgage holders who manage it have carried out works to increase capacity and get drivers to park more efficiently.
An LED sign will also be placed at the Hipsburn roundabout to inform drivers of any congestion issues in the village.
“The burgage holders now have a phone number to call if the car park is full,” said Cllr Whyte. “The control centre could then change the wording on that sign to say ‘Alnmouth car park full’ or ‘expect queues’.
"What we don’t want is to have lots of cars coming into the village, driving round and round or stuck in a queue down to the beach car park.
"When we’re full we’re full. There’s nothing we can do about it. Please go somewhere else. The reality is that there aren’t any options.”