Parking plans drawn up for Northumberland coastal hotspot amid fears of summer congestion chaos
A Boulmer councillor has raised fears that the village is in for a repeat of the congestion chaos of last summer.
Cllr Adrian Hinchcliffe, vice-chairman of Longhoughton Parish Council, voiced his concerns at a coastal summit of key stakeholders organised to see what measures could be put in place ahead of this summer.
In Boulmer, new proposals for off-street parking are being drawn up by Northumberland County Council while on-street parking restrictions (double yellow lines) are due to be in place by Easter.
Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “Myself and other Boulmer residents are very concerned about what is going to happen this summer.
“We don’t have any new off-street car parking. Over half-term week the existing car park has been full on the better days from midday to 2pm and that illustrates the fact that once this lockdown finishes, from Easter and onwards we are going to be inundated and overrun.”
He welcomed plans for double yellow lines to alleviate road safety issues but worried that it would simply shift the problem elsewhere.
He also said it was unfair on residents without off-street parking who are unable to park outside their homes at peak periods.
“We are going to have large numbers of visitors with their vehicles and it’s going to cause congestion, it’s going to cause residents difficulties… and the grass verges are going to be ploughed up and damaged so we have a real problem,” he said.
He felt temporary ‘no parking’ cones should be deployed and asked the county council to talk with a local landowner and the possibility of temporary field overflow car parking.
Cllr Hinchcliffe added: "I am very pleased to hear there are some proposals on additional off-road car parking. I do recognise these things take time though. You can’t implement a new off-road car park in 10 minutes.”
Council leader Glen Sanderson said: “We have been working on this as hard as we can. We all fully understand the problems, particularly in Boulmer, and we do want to get it sorted.”
Paul Jones, director of local services, added:” We have had dialogue and consultation around the traffic restrictions to address some of the safety issues caused by inconsiderate parking and those will be put in place for the Easter break.
“In terms of the off-street parking provision, we have been progressing dialogue and we will be coming to the parish council with the details of that.
"These are proposals which we believe are deliverable but we do need to get the buy-in for that overall approach from the parish council and then a consultation with the local residents.
“The difficulty with all of that is one of timescale because anything that is a permanent feature will have to get full planning consent."
He also said it was important the proposal was not a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ and would be useful in the longer term as well.
“We certainly believe the proposal fits that bill but if there are things we can do in the short term to help ease this summer – and the key is that seasonal field parking – then we are more than happy to have that dialogue,” added Mr Jones.