Scores of parking tickets issued under new 24-hour maximum stay rule in Northumberland

Almost 100 parking tickets have been handed out to motorists flouting the 24-hour maximum stay in Northumberland since its introduction late last year.

Monday, 9th September 2019, 5:32 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd September 2019, 1:47 pm
Berwick’s Castlegate car park. Picture c/o Google Streetview

The 24-hour limit (no return within four hours) in long-stay/all-day car parks in the market towns of Alnwick, Berwick, Hexham and Morpeth was brought in by the county council from the start of December 2018.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that since then, a total of 98 penalty charge notices (PCNs) have been issued for parking beyond the maximum stay.

The authority only issued warning notices in December in relation to the new rules before starting with PCNs on January 2 this year.

More than half of the tickets issued (51) came in January with another 21 in February and only single-figure totals across the four towns since then up to the end of July.

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In terms of the geographical split, the majority of PCNs were issued in Berwick – 50 across the Castlegate, Coxons Lane, Foul Ford and Quayside car parks.

There were 25 issued in Morpeth (Grey’s Yard, Matheson’s Gardens and St James), 17 in Hexham (Gilesgate and Wentworth) and just six in Alnwick (two areas of Greenwell Lane).

A 72-hour maximum stay for some non-town-centre car parks was also introduced at the same time, although this was brought in at Alnmouth and Morpeth railway stations last August.

Again, Berwick has borne the brunt of the PCNs with 63 of the 85 fines coming from its station car park. Of the remainder, 13 relate to Alnmouth Station, five to Morpeth Station and four to Ponteland (Merton Way and Thornhill Road).

The FOI data showed that the council’s civil enforcement officers (CEOs) have spent just over 22 hours carrying out enforcement duties in car parks between 6pm and 8am (ie, outside the usual car-park operation times) since the limits were first introduced.

However, the local authority has conceded that not all of the car parks have been updated as yet, with around 12 not having changed by the start of July.

Last October, a call to introduce workers’ parking permits in Alnwick, backed by an almost 400-name petition, was rejected.

It came in the wake of changes which saw the 72 long-stay spaces in the Greenwell Lane car park A changed to a three-hour limit – one of the actions from a plan drawn up by the town council and other stakeholders based on the recommendations of a study commissioned by the county council.

Among the reasons this request was rejected was that the 24-hour maximum stay restriction, which was then about to be implemented, would ‘address the issue of those who garage their vehicles for long periods of time’, it was claimed.

Two Alnwick car parks – Pottergate New Row and Roxburgh Place – still need their signs to be updated.

The council’s highways department is aware of this and no enforcement of the 24-hour limit has been taking place in either until the signs are changed.