Teething problems for new town parking restrictions

The new restriction at Greenwell Road (Part A) car park. Picture by Jane Coltman
The new restriction at Greenwell Road (Part A) car park. Picture by Jane Coltman

New parking restrictions have come into force in parts of Alnwick town centre this week in a bid to solve issues of a lack of vehicle spaces, particularly in peak tourism months.

But a two-week moratorium was put in place to allow motorists to become accustomed to the new rules.

During that period, which ends on Monday, parking fines have not been issued in the areas affected. Warning notices have instead been placed on cars found to be flouting the law.

From Monday, however, parking fines will be issued.

The implementation of the new rules had caused confusion among motorists, some of whom questioned the times on social media, particularly as the county council website was still displaying the old times. They have since been updated.

It even caught local councillors on the hop. County councillor for Alnwick, Gordon Castle, said: “It caught me somewhat by surprise – I wasn’t expecting the changes to be made last week. We could have handled it better in terms of publicity.”

As we reported back in April, an action plan to try to tackle severe parking problems in the town was unveiled by Northumberland County Council (NCC) after a parking survey was carried out followed by extensive consultation with local groups.

Among the first proposals to be agreed and now implemented, with new signs in place, are:

○ Conversion of the long-stay spaces in Greenwell Road car park A (behind the Playhouse) to short-stay three-hour spaces. Parking discs will now need to be displayed.

○ Conversion of four-hour bays to three hours in Greenwell Road car park D.

○ Conversion of short-stay bays on Bondgate Within (outside Costa) from two hours to 30 minutes.

The middle two car parks on Greenwell Road (B and C) and E, on the other side of the road, remain free all day and will not require drivers to display official parking discs.

Coun Castle said: “While there has certainly been plenty of publicity about the actual changes and what was planned, it would have been good for local members to know at least a week in advance of when these changes took effect.”

He admitted the NCC website had been misleading.