Timescale revealed for construction of new Alnwick car park providing nearly 200 spaces

Work on a new car park creating nearly 200 spaces in Alnwick has been pencilled in for an autumn start.

By Ian Smith
Monday, 15th February 2021, 7:00 am

Northumberland County Council’s cabinet has already approved £960,000 for a 196-space car park on part of the former Duchess’s Community High School site.

The site, off Howling Lane, has been used as a 60-space temporary car park over the past two years.

However, a planning application seeking permission to turn it into a permanent facility is expected to be submitted within weeks.

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The former Duchess's Community High School site in Howling Lane, Alnwick.

Cllr Gordon Castle, local ward member, provided an update to a meeting of Alnwick Town Council.

He said: “The intention of the county council is to start work in September and I hope members will understand it seems sensible not to start in mid-summer when we have lots of visitors.

“It’s 190-odd spaces, two entrances and exits – one at the Pottergate side and the other on the Ratten Row side.

“The cabinet has agreed in principle but it’s got to go through the budget which it will at the end of this month. I don’t see any difficulty but we can’t put in a (planning) application until the budget has gone through.”

The proposed investment is based on the recommendations of a 2017 parking study which found that, in order to bring car-park occupancy down to the recommended operational maximum of 85% at peak times, a total of 640 parking spaces are required, compared with the existing 490, a minimum increase of 150 spaces.

The study also recommended that long-stay parking in town centre car parks should be converted to short-stay ‘to increase turnover in order to improve capacity and benefit the town-centre economy’.

The report recommending the funding for the new car park says that ‘the scope for additional long-stay parking within walking distance of the town centre is severely restricted by the existing built environment and conservation area status of the town’, which means that the old school site ‘represents a significant opportunity to provide this much-needed facility’.

Cllr Castle also revealed the council’s highways department is still working up proposals for a semi-pedestrianisation of Market Place to make more of ‘cafe culture’ opportunities.

“First of all that depends on it not being a highway, or at least being a pedestrianised highway, and that’s what we’re working on,” he revealed.

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