Warkworth Parish Council: Parking, speeding, litter and Magna Carta

A view of Warkworth'Picture Jane Coltman
A view of Warkworth'Picture Jane Coltman

A traffic-management plan is being drawn up for Warkworth, aimed at tackling parking and speeding issues.

The wide-ranging strategy was discussed at this month’s parish-council meeting, with the county council’s highways safety officer, Dan Fraser, in attendance.

He circulated some plans which detailed ideas for traffic management in the village for discussion by members.

Village-centre parking: It was agreed that Mr Fraser progresses to the next stage with all aspects of the plan entitled Dial Place Parking and the Stanners.

This included: Resident permit holders and time-limited parking 9am–5pm, four hours, no return within five hours on both the west and east side of Dial Place as well as the bays in the centre of the street;

20 minute no return within one hour;

One motorcycle bay;

Removal of seasonal parking restriction on the double yellow lines within the village.

Discussions took place regarding which residents should be offered permits to allow them to park on Dial Place.

Introduction of 20mph speed restriction: Evidence from the speed survey carried out in 2016 suggested that there was no issue with speeding in the area.

However, members requested that a new survey be carried out and traffic speeds be looked at during specific times of the day. It was also requested that any 20mph speed restriction should start in the north of the village, where the existing 30mph started, and extend along to the west end of Morwick Road.

Castle Street pavement parking: Members supported the retention of the parking area on the west side of the road by retaining the steps, with the only change being that the flag stones should be removed and replaced with an asphalt strip, with bay markings.

It was felt that removing the steps would dramatically alter the appearance of Castle Street and while it would increase the carriageway width, it could also increase traffic speeds.

On the east side of the street the construction of designated bays was the preferred option and should improve parking. It was also agreed that the hatched area following the bend at the top of Castle Street, which directed traffic away from parked cars, should be introduced.

Mr Fraser advised members that he would take the proposals to the next parking meeting for discussion and would report feedback in due course. A request for funding would also have to be submitted.

• A proposal to reduce the speed limit on the road between Amble and Warkworth has been abandoned in the interests of safety.

Warkworth councillors want to slow the speed of drivers along Beal Bank on the outskirts of the village.

One of the suggestions was reducing the speed limit of the 60mph stretch of A1068, known as Rotary Way, which runs from Amble to the approach to Beal Bank in Warkworth.

However, at this month’s meeting, vice-chairman Coun Sally Black said that after discussions with the police and the road-safety design team, it was felt that the proposed reduced speed limit could create a road-safety issue and had therefore been abandoned.

It was felt that motorists travelling in both directions had sufficient warning to slow down to the appropriate 30mph limit when they enter Warkworth and Amble.

However, action will still be taken to try to stop speeding motorists along Beal Bank.

Coun Black referred to an email from the county council which provided details of a scheme to allow enforcement of the 30mph speed limit at Beal Bank.

The scheme included amended road markings as necessary and an extension of the 30mph speed limit at a couple of locations to improve road safety in the village.

Members welcomed the scheme, but felt that there was a proliferation of signs and queried whether they could be reduced.

• The future location of a facsimile of the Magna Carta will be discussed by the parish council.

The meeting heard that chairman Jeff Watson had received a communication from the St Lawrence church warden, which said that the Diocese was in support of displaying the precious copy within the church porch.

However, members were concerned about the poor lighting in this location and the potential for deterioration of this valuable asset and felt that it should be kept in a more appropriate environment.

It was noted that the facsimile of the 1215 edition of the Magna Carta had been given to the village and that the parish council was its custodian.

It was agreed that the parish council will write to the church warden to seek the return of the document and that its future location be considered at next Thursday’s parish-council meeting.

In the summer of 2015, Warkworth held Magna Carta celebrations to mark the famous charter’s 800-year anniversary and honour the village’s connection to the historically-significant document.

The Magna Carta, meaning Great Charter, was agreed at Runnymede, Surrey, in 1215, and was signed between barons of medieval England and King John.

Among the key barons were John FitzRobert, described as lord of Warkworth Castle, and lord of Alnwick, Eustace de Vesci.

The document has become the foundation of the rights and liberties of much of the English-speaking world and beyond.

• Nell McGrath attended the meeting with a colleague to raise awareness of a Litterbug Group she had established involving local schoolchildren with the aim of establishing a regular litter-pick.

She was seeking parish-council support for equipment and knowledge about areas which needed attention.

It was noted that the parish council also did an annual litter-pick and consideration was given to the possibility of combining efforts.

It was agreed that the parish-council litter-pick will take place on Saturday, March 17, at 10am.

Members were minded to support the group and suggested that an application be submitted to the clerk.

• Coun Jeff Watson has taken the decision as local county councillor to have the dog waste bin at Duke’s Landing on Mill Walk removed as it was very difficult to service.

• Members have put forward their priorities for inclusion in a potential neighbourhood plan.

Vice-chairman Sally Black provided feedback on a meeting which she had attended recently at Amble Town Council with colleague John Lilley. A half-day session supported by Northumberland County Council planning staff involving Amble Town Council, as well as the parish councils of Togston, Hauxley, Acklington and Warkworth was being set up.

Ahead of this, the parish council needed to consider what its priorities were for a neighbourhood plan and topics for discussion at this session.

Members identified the following: Housing, including new and second homes; access to services; retention of village character; protection of the environment; parking; infrastructure; facilities for young people; tourism; village hall/community facilities; transport; and schools/education.

• Regarding the Northumbrian Water (NWL) project on The Stanners and Monks Walk, Coun Black advised that she had spoken to Ian Davison at NWL regarding parking availability during the works. Any specific issues should be raised with Ian, who was very aware of potential difficulties such as Easter holidays and funerals, and Coun Black believes he will do his best to resolve them.

• The clerk reported that a request for access to the beach had been received from Northside Surf Club. However, members noted that the gate and access were not the responsibility of the parish council, so were not in a position to respond to the request.

• Coun Roger Cashmore said that a builder’s skip on the corner of The Butts and Bridge Street was causing a nuisance.

• The parish council has given donations of £750 to Warkworth Cricket Club and £50 to Alnwick Playhouse.