Split of opinion over increasing time limits

Parking on Queen Street in Amble.
Parking on Queen Street in Amble.

A call to increase the parking time limits on Amble’s main shopping street, backed by a 272-name petition, has divided opinion.

But it is hoped that Amble Town Council, with the help of the county council, can seek some consensus on the issue, which has even split the town’s two county councillors.

At last week’s meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council, a petition by Kathleen Sullivan, who runs a hairdressers’ on Queen Street, was debated.

It calls for the current one-hour limits to be increased to two hours to allow people enough time to shop.

“People are getting tickets and they are not coming back into Amble to shop,” said Mrs Sullivan.

As well as the names on the petition, she was backed by Amble’s county councillor Terry Clark, who said: “We should have a sensible parking policy which encourages shoppers to use our high street. We have to strike a balance with parking provision that works.”

One-hour restrictions have been in place on the section of Queen Street from High Street to the Bridge Street junction for many years. Additional hour-long restrictions were introduced along the rest of Queen Street in September last year to ensure consistency.

The main aim of the one-hour limit is to increase parking turnover in order to support local businesses while persuading those shoppers who wish to stay longer to park in the off-street car parks where time limits are much longer.

This view was reiterated by Coun Jeff Watson, the county councillor for Amble West with Warkworth, who pointed out that this one-hour restriction was agreed and still supported by the town’s parking working group, which is made up of representatives of the town council, the county council, the development trust and the business club.

Coun Trevor Thorne called for the county council to carry out a survey of all of the businesses along Queen Street to get an accurate picture of the traders’ views. However, it was reiterated that the county council will take its steer on parking issues from town and parish councils.