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Car Parking Pain in Morpeth - click here for full article

April 25, 2016 3:30 PM

We all know about the limitations of parking space in Morpeth. It is a concern for residents using shops and other facilities. It is also a concern for businesses, employees and visitors. The town centre is constricted, yet what we need is new parking provision. But where and in what form?

Liberal Democrat Town Councillor Ken Brown represents the Town Council on the Town Team, which is a partnership between the Council, the Chamber of Trade, the Greater Morpeth Development Trust, Sanderson Arcade and Inside Morpeth magazine. They have done a study of the town centre for each of the last three years, so that changes can be monitored and assessed.

Through these studies, it has become very evident that the proportion of car parking spaces that are vacant is insufficient to allow reasonable turnover. We can therefore prove factually, rather than anecdotally, that the system is unable to deal with any further increase in demand. This gives us a sound basis for pressurising for action to be taken. If it is difficult to find parking spaces at times now, how will we manage the future demand from the planned growth of the town?

It is a knotty problem and the Town Team's surveys show that car park users have put forward many suggested solutions, including that workers should be able to park all day in any car park; a special permit for workers; that the short term spaces be available for four hours; the reintroduction of paid permits etc. None of the ideas makes more space available and they do not balance the needs of everyone. As Ken says, "we cannot solve the problem by simply moving the deck chairs around. We need a radical solution. Businesses need workers, but they also need customers for the town centre to remain vibrant. Lack of car parking turns people away."

Discussions are now being held with the county council. Could a Park and Ride scheme be provided and would people use it? Could there be a multi storey car park and would that be provided by the County Council or would it be a commercial enterprise? Could land be made available for extra car parking? Where could such possible solutions be situated and would sites be available and suitable?

There is a lot to consider, but the issue must be addressed soon.