Trade boosted by lift of parking restrictions

The lifting of parking restrictions in a seaside town has helped boost trade, a business leader has claimed.

And Colin Harris, chairman of Amble Business Club, has said the next mission is to try to create even more spaces for vehicles throughout the town.

Shortly before Christmas, a short-term solution was introduced along Queen Street, following a petition signed by more than 3,000 people.

It cited concerns over the use of civil parking enforcement officers in the town and the subsequent downturn in trade since their introduction.

The petition also made reference to the change in use of shops on Queen Street, that originally required bays for loading purposes but don’t anymore.

In response to the petition, a meeting took place at the beginning of December between representatives of Northumberland County Council, Amble Town Council and the business club.

A number of long-term solutions were outlined, but in the short term, it was agreed that a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order would be imposed.

This involved replacing the Loading Bay restrictions with a one-hour limited waiting restriction on Queen Street to encourage turnover for businesses and services.

The Loading Only restriction was removed during the Christmas period and the temporary order will be in effect for one year.

And Mr Harris believes it has had a positive impact.

“We have noticed it has improved things a lot. It has made a difference,” he said.

He added: “Nobody seems to have complained about the fact that the restrictions on the loading bays have been removed either.

“The next goal is to try to get more parking in Amble and this is being looked at.”

At last month’s town council, for instance, members agreed to investigate covering the cost of insurance for the fenced-off site at Turner Street, with the aim of reopening it as a car park.

Town trader Ann Burke, who started the petition, agreed that there has been an improvement since the loading bay restriction was lifted but admitted there were still some issues to be ironed out.

She said: “It has been better and there has been an improvement but it is not perfect at the moment.

“The traffic wardens are not enforcing the hour regulations and people are parking there all day.”

In a report prepared for last Monday’s north area committee, it was recommended that a preferred option for parking in Amble is provided to Amble Town Council and the Amble Business Club with a view to going to consultation in the next financial year, subject to funding being made available.