Alternative system for county parking permits

I HAVE been reading the article in the Northumberland Gazette (January 13) with reference to the disparate parking costs throughout the county.

I already have a Northumberland County Council county-wide annual parking permit. This, at present, costs me about £70 per annum and I find it very convenient indeed. May I therefore suggest the following.

All ratepayers throughout the county and anyone else who applies from outside the county be issued with an annual county-wide parking permit at a ‘nominal’ price of (say) £10 per vehicle, together with an arrival time display unit. This would have, as well as a ‘valid until’ date, the registration number of the vehicle.

These could even be sold, as well as by NCC, by traffic wardens and from ticket/map machines.

Residents and visitors to anywhere in Northumberland would obey the regulations already in force in the parking meter areas and identical regulations would be applied in the rest of the county.

The advantages of such a scheme would be:

1. The new permits at (say) £10 per annum would be within the budget of all vehicle owners and therefore not economically or unfairly impact on deprived areas.

2. The overall NCC income would be much larger than at present.

3. The enhanced income could pay for enforcement.

4. The low individual cost would be attractive to repeat visitors from outside the region as well as from different parts of Northumberland.

5. The new system would be fair to all the county.

6. The county wide system would not drive trade away from Ashington and Blyth to nearby Tyneside.

7. More visitors could well be attracted to those areas that at present have parking fees.

8. The new system appears to answer most, if not all, of the points in the arguments against one-size-fits-all charges in your article.

Colin Bell,

Address withheld by request