Anger over lack of parking provision

Residents in a Morpeth street claim that they were ignored when temporary parking-restriction measures were introduced.

And now people in Pretoria Avenue, located near the Riverside Leisure Centre, are asking for reserved parking spaces while flood defence works are carried out – particularly for blue-badge holders.

Earlier this month, part of the street was closed off so the Environment Agency could carry out a project as part of its alleviation scheme for the town to protect Pretoria Avenue and Mathesons Gardens residents.

This has meant that people in 11 houses are now unable to park where they normally would until the end of July. The other side of the street will be affected in the following two months so the rest of the works can be carried out.

In addition, 60 per cent of the parking spaces in the public Mathesons Gardens facility are unavailable because of the works.

Northumberland County Council agreed to issue 15 permits to distribute to the affected residents, which allow them to park without time limit in the Newmarket East and Newmarket West car parks for the duration of the project.

But many of them have said this is not acceptable, including 74-year-old Nathan Barnes, who is a blue-badge holder.

He said: “We haven’t been considered one iota in all of this, the council and Environment Agency should have spoken to us before going ahead with these arrangements.

“I’m a positive person and will walk from further away, but it’s more difficult for other residents and one of my neighbours can hardly walk 40 yards, so it’s essential that he parks by his home.

“What happens if emergency services need to get down the lane? Things will be even worse when the other side of the road is cut off. It’s very difficult to find a spot in the Newmarket East and Newmarket West car parks during the day, so there are times when we have an even longer walk.

“It’s only fair that we should get priority parking in Mathesons Gardens while this work is being carried out and it would be helpful if someone in charge at the county council came down to have a look at the situation. I also think that Morpeth town councillors should have been more aware about what was going on and done more to take up the issue.”

Mr Barnes vented his frustrations at a recent meeting of the town council’s planning and transport committee.

Chairman Joan Tebbutt said: “This is a county council matter, but we have invited you here this evening to tell us what the issues are and we will take them up with the relevant officers at County Hall on behalf of Pretoria Avenue residents.”

Coun David Clark suggested that any Mathesons Gardens residents who can accommodate another car by their home should get in touch with the authority on 01670 514314.

Members agreed that a county council officer should go along to the area to assess the situation.

A county council spokeswoman said: “We are unable to allocate dedicated bays to residents at Mathesons Gardens car park because a significant number of the parking spaces have been lost due to the flood alleviation works.

“We are, however, looking to see how we can better help any residents who are blue-badge holders and have difficulties in walking.”