CHARGES will soon be introduced at the new county council-owned car park at Morpeth Railway Station.
The 75-space facility was opened in Coopies Lane in December to ease congestion caused by vehicles parked outside the station.
Despite a few letters of objection, the council’s Planning and Environment Committee approved the use of charges, which will come into effect from April 15.
The council is allowing people to use the county-wide parking permit in the facility, which costs £130 a year, but some residents are unhappy that charges will be applied.
They said it was unfair when the committee agreed to free parking in additional spaces at Prudhoe and Alnmouth railway stations and said fees are penalising passengers who are helping to reduce congestion by using public transport.
At a Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade meeting, member Charles Sellers said: “It beggars belief that the county council is bringing in parking charges there and is trying to get Northern Rail, which owns the other car park at the station, to do the same.”
In a report to the planning committee, Project Engineer Terry Luck said that Northern Rail is aware of the charges and council personnel are in discussions about introducing a complimentary tariff structure.
He said: “There was a need in this case to further protect the parking spaces for rail users. All-day parking in Morpeth town centre is in high demand, therefore the charge should help to limit all-day parking by non-users.”
Members also agreed to bring in charges for the new long-stay car park at Staithes Lane that has been built as part of the Morrisons’ supermarket scheme.
Meanwhile, the authority has responded to calls from a town resident to introduce charges at County Hall car parks to boost its income.
The resident also asked if any tickets had been issued for vehicles parking on double yellow lines beside the building.
A council spokeswoman said: “We are not currently considering car parking charges for the County Hall car parks.
“Some of Queen Elizabeth Avenue is covered by a traffic regulation order, which is enforceable by civil parking officers. There have been no penalty charge notices issued there.”