Split over parking permits

Illegal parking in Challoner's Gardens, Morpeth.
Illegal parking in Challoner's Gardens, Morpeth.

RESIDENTS are divided over plans for permit parking.

The idea had been suggested by county councillor David Bawn to address parking problems in High Stanners.

Residents had complained that drivers were leaving their cars in the area all day, which could restrict access for emergency vehicles, and people were also parking there in the evening while they visited a local restaurant or club.

However, Northumberland County Council officer Paul McKenna told town councillors last week that consultation on introducing a residents’ paid permit scheme was so far showing an almost equal split, with 33 in favour and 34 against.

Speaking at the town’s Planning and Transport Committee, he said: “No decisions have been made and as there is an even split, I think it will need to be discussed further.

“It might be considered a problem nearer the entrance, but not so much further back in other streets. If we only introduce a scheme near the entrance there is potential for the problem to move further back. On the other hand, we don’t want to introduce a scheme if it is unpopular.”

Mr McKenna said some residents had complained about the lack of enforcement of existing yellow lines.

“There is a feeling that current enforceable restrictions haven’t been enforced. I have been told that if the problem does persist in the evening than the council will allocate resources to enforce the restrictions,” he said.

Town councillor Les Cassie suggested that a permit scheme be introduced for roads nearest the entrance to the area, but not further back.

He said: “My guess is that the people who live furthest away from the entrance haven’t got a problem and the people who live closest to the entrance have a huge problem.

“It seems the scheme proposed isn’t going to fly because there is enough opposition, so could we just have yellow lines around the entrance, and enforced?

“I would hate us just to walk away and say we can’t solve the problem. If we get a scheme with the right number of lines in the right places, enforced up to 9pm, I think it would get 90 per cent support.”

Mr McKenna said it would be possible with marked bays, but would need further consideration.

Coun David Parker also called for parking restrictions at Curly Kews over safety concerns.

One resident of Challoner’s Gardens, who does not wish to be named, said: “The problem is enforcement. I have been a car owner all my life, but I would never park on yellow lines.

“Our bedrooms are on the front and people park their cars outside. We’re trying to sleep at night and you can hear the car doors banging and every word people say.

“I can’t see that the permits would make a difference if people are ignoring the yellow lines now.”

The consultation ended on Monday. County officers will now consider the response.