WASTE: Parking plan is ill-considered

As a staunch, lifelong supporter of Rothbury’s fine shops and other businesses, I would like to comment on the appalling parking proposals hatched up for Rothbury by Northumberland County Council (Gazette, October 22).

They appear to have no other purpose than to deliberately undermine the ‘Capital of Coquetdale’ as the valley’s shopping centre.

The only beneficiaries of this ill-considered plan would be the big supermarkets and Amazon.

Every other town in Northumberland – even Wooler – has convenient off-street car parks to serve their shops.

In contrast, Rothbury only has its scarce on-street parking to serve residents, local businesses, shoppers and tourists.

The remarkable thing is how well it works; road rage and accidents are hardy known.

Apart from a bit of quiet despair when some walkers or cyclists show no respect for the community by dumping their vehicles in scarce parking spaces while they go off for the day, the whole thing works with civility, patience and good humour.

The county council should see Rothbury as a shining example of rational parking behaviour, not consider wasting scarce funds on ruining it.

The only problem with parking in Rothbury is that at certain peak times there is not enough if it. The county council’s contradictory ‘solution’ is to permanently reduce the number of spaces – and in reality by far more than the 10 it claims.

If it includes the customary informal short-term parking by local, often elderly shoppers, the actual reduction would be somewhere between 15 and 20 spaces, or around 30 per cent in the critical shopping area.

These loyal short-term parkers/shoppers from the local area are absolutely vital to supporting Rothbury’s businesses and jobs year-round, to the tune of around £3,000 per parking space per week. Costly, pointless ‘paved areas’ contribute nothing.

These crass, ill-considered proposals make no allowance whatever for delivery vehicles reaching the shops, or for the fact that the restriction of access to the main road by city-centre style street landscaping will encourage through-traffic to speed up – no doubt on its way to the supermarkets of Morpeth and Alnwick.

Despite the disgraceful vilification which it has recently endured with great dignity, Rothbury Parish Council is doing a sterling job in serving the community. I urge it to consider the huge threat that this thoughtless scheme poses to Rothbury’s economy.

Instead, there is one, simple, cost-free and universally popular move which the parish council could demand; a 20mph speed limit to keep its shopping centre safe.

Aidan Harrison,