Plans lodged for car park at Northumberland coastal hotspot

Plans to create a new car park on the Northumberland coast have sparked a huge response.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 7:00 am

An application seeking permission for a car park with up to 50 places at Dunstan Steads, between Embleton and Craster, has been lodged.

The area, which borders Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club, is popular with dog walkers and beach-goers and has become increasingly busy over the past year with staycation visitors.

It is proposed to convert an arable field into a seasonal car park between April and October.

The proposed car park site at Dunstan Steads.

The proposal is to sow grass and then lay a reinforced mesh over the top to protect the surface and reduce the visual impact.

A report with the plans, submitted on behalf of a Lucker farmer, states: ‘The site will help provide safe and secure parking to accommodate the busy summer months.’

However, the application has resulted in more than 50 objections, mainly from local residents concerned about the potential for increased traffic on the narrow access road.

A 246-signature petition calling for the Dunstan Steads area ‘to be left as it is’ has also been collected.

Dunstan Steads.

Objections have been submitted by statutory consultees including The National Trust, while Natural England and the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership have raised concerns and asked for more details.

Craster Parish Council has also objected, raising concern about the absence of information about highway safety, residential amenity, parking charges, campervans and the environmental impact.

Dunstan Steads resident Monica Cornall, speaking at its meeting on Thursday, said: “The parking on that road is a disaster. There isn’t an official car park and people have always parked at the side of the roads. Last year was beyond unreasonable and it was particularly bad there because when all the official car parks were shut people were going there.

‘This application has caused an absolute frenzy because the road is totally unsuitable for the current volume of traffic, let alone any more. Is that really what we want?

"If you go down there on a sunny day in the summer it’s like Piccadilly Circus.”

She felt an alternative site with better access, perhaps near Dunstan Steads campsite, would be a better long-term solution. People could still walk to the beach or shuttle buses could be introduced.

The council’s highways department has indicated that any concerns about the current application could be overcome ‘so long as the off-street parking gain is balanced with no opportunity for on-street parking’.

There have also been 21 letters of support.

Among them, Daniel Spours of Twizel Farm, near Belford, writes: ‘There have been many negative comments regarding the suitability of the road; this can easily be addressed by signage and passing places and I see this as a irrelevant objection because the traffic currently has to drive all the way to the end of the road before the occupants realise they cannot park.’

Simon Dobson, from Beadnell, adds: ‘A car park is a good idea to reduce pressure on the road and the locals living there.’

A final decision will be made by Northumberland County Council.

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