Concerns about parking capacity are regularly raised with the County Council and the new administration has made finding a solution to these problems a high priority, with parking studies for the market towns of Berwick, Hexham, Morpeth and Alnwick being commissioned in order to get a clearer picture of capacity and usage of car parks in these areas.
The first stage of survey work looking at actual levels of usage over the summer period has now been completed.
Work is now being undertaken to seek the views and opinions of the local county councillors, town councils and other key stakeholders on the parking issues in their areas through a series of meetings during September, with the final report findings then being received by the Council in November.
Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet member for Environment and Local Services, said: “We need to have a close look at parking issues as we constantly hear that visitors and residents alike can’t find a car parking place when they want to shop and that causes real problems and is bad news for traders.
“Despite the introduction of free parking some years ago, communities are often telling us that a lack of parking capacity is having a negative effect on their local economy and the sustainability of their towns.
“We’re listening to these concerns and as a first step have commissioned a study to investigate the current car parking situation within each of the four main market towns where parking capacity has been identified as a key issue.
“This will establish current patterns of use and enable us to factor in the future demand for car parking spaces so that we can fully understand what improvements are required now and in the future and look at what’s needed in terms of any new car parking sites.
“The survey work over the summer has progressed well and we are now gathering the views and listening to the thoughts of key stakeholders to help inform the development of options on the current parking issues and parking needs in their local community.
“Ultimately we want all our communities to prosper and have the right balance of sustainable parking for residents, visitors and businesses and this is the first step in making that happen.”
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