Parking proposals drawn up to alleviate congestion problems on the Northumberland coast
A series of parking proposals are being worked up to help ease traffic congestion on the Northumberland coast.
Congestion in coastal hotspots was one of the big issues last summer when large numbers of visitors arrived on day trips or staycation holidays.
Northumberland County Council is planning measures to combat the problem in communities including Craster, Bamburgh, Boulmer and Embleton.
In Craster, a new road configuration to reduce traffic going directly into the village is planned along with extra seasonal overflow parking provision.
In Boulmer, new proposals for off-street parking are being drawn up while on-street parking restrictions are due to be in place by Easter.
"We’re going to be consulting on proposals that we believe are deliverable in Boulmer,” revealed Paul Jones, head of local services, at a coastal summit of key stakeholders.
At Embleton, traffic management measures are being planned at Sea Lane and Dunston Steads.
“We’ll be having further dialogue with the parish council and local member for that,” said Mr Jones. “We’ve just finalised those plans and they’re currently being costed up but we expect to have them in place for the summer.”
And in Bamburgh, on-street restrictions are planned at The Wynding, Ingram Road and Lindisfarne Avenue.
Parking restrictions are also planned on the approach to the Holy Island causeway at Beal.
The council is also keen to expand the network of seasonal field parking arrangements with local landowners. Rules now allow their use for a 56 day period instead of the previous 28 days.
"It’s something we’re really keen to progress where it is appropriate,” said Mr Jones.
Temporary ‘no parking’ cones will also be used where problem areas are identified.
"This isn’t something we would do lightly,” said Mr Jones. “We don’t want to litter the Northumberland countryside with plastic parking cones but we will do it where there are particular issues such as protected farm entrances or where concerns are raised.”
Mr Jones said: “We will be increasing our parking enforcement capacity, patrols and the number of people involved and having close liaison with the police if there are issues they have to deal with as opposed to civil enforcement.”
The council’s parking enforcement team is also being expanded, being funded in part by a proposed increase in parking charges at some coastal car parks.
“We will be looking to increase parking charges at some of the coastal car parks to help manage demand and support further investment in facilities for visitors,” said Mr Jones.
Variable message signs will also be in use at key locations and the council is working on ways of keeping visitors better informed of real-time issues.
“We are looking at more dynamic information to be able to give out to the public so they can make informed choices about where they go and how busy an area is before they travel,” said Mr Jones.
The council is also working with partners on ways to try and disperse visitors to Northumberland more evenly around the county rather than the coastal hotspots and national park.