Image demonstrating Action plan to improve Berwick town centre parking

Action plan to improve Berwick town centre parking

An action plan has been developed to improve car parking in Berwick town centre.

Last year the County Council commissioned consultants to carry out parking studies and survey work in Berwick, Hexham, Morpeth and Alnwick, to help develop options for future parking needs in these towns.

The study found many of the issues identified were common to all of the towns, however there were also some key differences so bespoke strategies were  developed for each area.

Detailed work has been carried out to seek the views and opinions of the local county councillors, town councils and other key stakeholders on the findings of the consultants’ studies and their recommendations on a range of potential measures to help address parking issues in their areas.

Individual parking action plans have now been developed for each of the four towns that build on the studies and take on-board the views and opinions of all stakeholders.

The County Council recognises that significant capital investment is required to address the parking issues being faced by some communities, and has therefore allocated £10m capital within the council’s Medium Term Financial Plan to fund parking improvements. This funding will be used to support the implementation of the four action plans in Alnwick, Morpeth, Berwick and Hexham, as well as being available to support business cases for parking improvements in other locations.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet member for Environment and Local Services, said: “Because so many people approached us when we first took over the administration of the council about problems with car parking, and with general congestion in town centres, we have been committed to finding  workable solutions to the county’s parking issues which have the support of residents, businesses, shoppers and visitors.

“While the studies have focused on the four main towns, we are also working with other communities to address the parking issues they face.

“While it’s clear that extra car parking is required in all four towns to address the existing parking problems and plan ahead for anticipated future housing growth and demand, just building more spaces will not solve the parking problems.

“This would just lead to extra traffic in the town centres and create even more reliance on car travel.

“That’s why a range of immediate, medium and longer term measures are being proposed within the action plans alongside increases in capacity to help manage demand and ensure our town centres remain attractive places to visit.”

In Berwick the priority is to secure an extension to the temporary planning consent for use of Castlegate overflow car park to then enable further work to be progressed to develop a long term solution, which could include an improved permanent car park at Castlegate. Negotiations with Network Rail are also being progressed to increase parking spaces at the railway station.

Other plans for this summer include:
  • On a trial basis converting The Parade car park to short stay to improve utilisation and turn over of spaces within the town walls (this is being undertaken at the Town Council’s request to improve turnover of parking spaces for shoppers and visitors to support the town centre economy).
  • Converting the Chapel Street Coach Park into a town centre short stay car park to provide extra town centre parking capacity.
  • Investigating the potential to make the staff car park behind the library on Chapel Street available to the public at weekends, and reviewing the layout to maximise the number of spaces available.
  • Liaising with Arch about the potential use of land off Walkergate for extra temporary car parking, pending its future redevelopment.
Berwick North County Councillor Catherine Seymour said: “Parking is crucial in the town for residents, businesses and visitors and although fortunate with our built up areas of rich fabric of heritage buildings, this comes with many restraints for parking in the town.  

“With the imminent reinstatement of the Car Park on Chapel Street and by working to secure the consent of the overflow of Castlegate car park, this will help the shortfall that was highlighted by the consultants.

“Along with their recommendations and by listening to the voice of Berwick, this shows that NCC have looked at options available and will continue to find solutions and make refinements to these plans.”

To view the full action plan go HERE
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