Image demonstrating Action plan to improve Morpeth town centre parking

Action plan to improve Morpeth town centre parking

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

Last year the County Council commissioned consultants to carry out parking studies and survey work in Morpeth, Hexham, Berwick 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 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.

Morpeth Town Council has now formally approved the plan, which includes a proposal to provide extra parking capacity through the  redevelopment of the site of Morpeth First School once the site is vacated, creating around an extra 150 spaces as a medium term solution for the town.

Work will also be progressed to develop more spaces at Morpeth Railway Station on land next to the station building and to investigate other options with Network Rail to increase capacity further.

Other proposals include:
  • Continuing discussions with Morrisons to make more efficient use of the spaces in Staithes Lane car park.
  • Bringing in a 24 hour maximum stay in long stay car parks.

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 Morpeth and Alnmouth railway stations.

“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.”

Morpeth North County Councillor David Bawn said: “I welcome all the hard work that has gone into this study and the positive steps being proposed.

“I especially welcome the continuing commitment to free parking in the Morpeth town centre car parks combined with the commitment by the Council to provide further spaces in the medium term to meet growing demand.

“Morpeth is a success story and we want to continue to encourage visitors and shoppers to our high street offering which is essential for keeping our town alive and thriving.”

Councillor Nic Best, Mayor of Morpeth said: “As has been indicated both in the recent NCC Car Parking Review and successive annual Town Benchmarking Studies, adequate and appropriate car parking is vital to maintain the vibrancy of Morpeth town centre.

“This Action Plan, taken as an integral part of the emerging Morpeth Masterplan, looks as though it will provide some much-needed solutions.”
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