A NEW long-stay car park has opened in Morpeth.
The first phase of the underground car park in Staithes Lane is now complete, providing 120 bays and 12 disabled parking places.
When the new Morrisons supermarket opens for business a further 92 spaces will be available.
Northumberland County Council has taken on the lease for the car park from Morrisons and will be responsible for its operation, including enforcing parking regulations.
The facility will offer all-day parking for £2. Drivers can also use the Northumberland countywide parking permit and it is free to disabled blue badge holders.
The car park has been welcomed by traders and businesses.
Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade Car Parking Sub-committee Chairman Charles Robinson said: “This additional long-stay car park will encourage people to free up the town-centre bays for shoppers.
“There has been a long history of people moving cars around the short-stay car parks because there wasn’t adequate parking provision for workers in the town.
“I think this has added to the misconception that the shops are all doing well because the short-stay car parks are full. If you analyse it, a lot of the people parking there are workers because there was nowhere else to park. If you look at the rural hinterland, the lack of public transport means that people have to use their cars to come into the town.”
Sanderson Arcade Manager Medi Parry said: “The new long-stay car park is going to make a huge difference in the town and will free up the short-stay parking for our shoppers. We are really keen to get the message out that the car park is now open and operational.”