Traders in Amble have once again raised concerns about the impact that plans for an out-of-town retail development and car park will have on the main shopping street.
Earlier this year, a proposal was unveiled for a new supermarket and up to 35,000 sq ft of additional units to be built at Coquet Enterprise Park.
The scheme also includes car-parking provision for more than 200 vehicles.
At a recent meeting of Amble Business Club, traders voiced their concern about the plan and urged the county council to open a long-awaited town-centre car park.
After the meeting, chairman Ann Burke said: “Everyone agrees that Amble needs a better food offering than is currently in place, but there is concern from the current businesses that a supermarket and additional retail, plus a 220-space car park will have a detrimental effect without the long-asked-for town-centre car park being put in place.”
She asked if it was ‘a fair playing field that one store gets 220 parking places, while 50 businesses only have 40 one-hour spaces, and 40 temporary four-hour spaces.’
Arch chairman Coun Richard Wearmouth conceded that it was a high number at the proposed new site.
Ann added: “After years of businesses asking, and a 3,000-name petition from the community, hours of meeting the county council, we still have parking problems and the need for a commitment from the county council to commit to financing a town-centre car park. Trade is being turned away because of parking.”
She said that additional car-parking on the industrial estate has been mooted, but this was felt by the business club to be a waste of time and money.
Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member at the county council, said: “Amble is growing and it is important for businesses and residents to have access to appropriate parking.
“We’re aware of the issues and have been working to find solutions. We have come up with ideas and are working on more. We have commissioned a study of current parking space usage at weekends and are awaiting the results.
“We’re committed to continuing to work with the community to address parking.”