Club makes parking plea to council leader

Judo coaches Juneille Smith and John Hall, far right of middle row, and members of the Morpeth-based Ronin Judo Club
Judo coaches Juneille Smith and John Hall, far right of middle row, and members of the Morpeth-based Ronin Judo Club
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Two judo coaches have asked County Hall officials to show some car parking flexibility for their community club.

The Northumberland parking strategy, which came into effect in April, made it free for vehicles to stop in county council-run car parks in Morpeth.

But the time limits remained for short stay facilities and the three-hour period for the Newmarket East car park next to the Riverside Leisure Centre has caused a problem for John Hall and his partner Juneille Smith, who run the Ronin Judo Club.

They currently need to be in the centre on Saturday afternoons from about 12.30pm to 4pm so they can set up the mats and range of equipment, lead two sessions (one for children aged between six and 10 and the other for older children and adults) and clear up.

Mrs Smith, who has written to Northumberland County Council leader Grant Davey, said: “The council’s parking strategy says it will provide flexible solutions to meet local objectives and we should get the same flexibility afforded to market traders as we are providing a service to the community – all surplus monies go to the betterment of the club and its members.”

A county council spokeswoman said it is essential that time limits are consistently and regularly enforced.

She added: “However, if sports coaches need to park for longer than the permitted time, it is acceptable for them to load and unload their equipment while parking close to the leisure centre, but they must move their vehicle to a long stay car park when finished.”