Image demonstrating Action plan to improve Hexham town centre parking

Action plan to improve Hexham town centre parking

An action plan has been developed to improve car parking in Hexham.

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

The study found many common issues for the towns but 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 get 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.

In Hexham a significant amount of work has already gone on behind the scenes to try and secure additional parking capacity at a number of potential sites. Following negotiations with landowners this work has enabled some sites to be ruled out, whilst also allowing some new car parking to be made available at the former Fire Station site and at the Old Bus Station / Dysart site on a temporary basis pending its redevelopment.

It is proposed that significant extra parking capacity is provided either at the ‘Bunker Site’ off Alemouth Road or through the development of other options as a high priority including exploring the possibility of a multi-storey in a more central location in the town.

Other proposals to help improve parking in the short term include:
  • Reducing overnight and long stay parking by residents and businesses with a 24 hour maximum stay, with consideration of the lease arrangements in place with residents of Hallstile Bank (East side) who have access over the Wentworth car park to the rear of their properties.
  • Consideration of expansion of the town bus service routes to include other parts of the town / estates where improved access to public transport could help reduce car travel and demand for parking.
  • Liaise with M&S and Aldi to establish whether the underutilised sections of their car parks could be converted to long stay parking

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, including Corbridge.

“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.”

Hexham East County Councillor Cath Homer said: “I’m pleased that the county council is recognising the issues regarding car parking capacity in the town and look forward to seeing plans for a more permanent solution shortly.”

Councillor Bob Hull, Deputy Mayor of Hexham, added: “We look forward to working with the county council to find the best possible solutions to ensure that Hexham continues to be an attractive place to live, work and visit.

“It is very encouraging that NCC is ready to find capital funding to help to deal with Hexham’s concerns.”

To see the full action plan go HERE
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