Disc dispensers for town centre

A business group has welcomed plans for parking-disc dispensers in Morpeth town centre.

But the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade is calling on Northumberland County Council to install them soon as there is no set date in place.

Free parking was introduced to Morpeth in April following years of campaigning. In the short-stay car parks, drivers must now display discs in their vehicles to ensure they do not overstay the time limits.

The Chamber has received positive feedback from businesses about the removal of charges, but at a recent meeting, members expressed concerns that visitors to the town were having difficulty finding discs as the number of outlets selling them was restricted by the county authority.

Three dispensers were originally proposed, but a council spokesman has now confirmed that there will be four in total – two of them will be in the Stanley Terrace North car park, one will be located in The Terrace (next to Morpeth Library) and the other will be in Newmarket East.

He added: “We are still finalising the details on installation and timescales.”

Chamber member John Beynon said: “Free parking has made a big difference to the town and traders are delighted with how things have gone since it was introduced.

“The disc system for the short-stay car parks is working well, however, we have received complaints from some of the visitors to the town who say they have been inconvenienced in trying to find one of the places that sell the discs.

“A man who recently came to Morpeth for the first time said he was away from his car for 10 minutes while he went to get a disc and when he came back, he had received a ticket.

“The dispensers will make things much easier for tourists and holiday-makers and hopefully the county council will install them as soon as possible because the more straightforward things are, the more likely these people are to make return visits to the town.”

Each dispenser will be placed on a free-standing backboard, on which a map will be printed showing people the locations of the parking places in Morpeth and whether or not they require a disc, which costs £1.

It will also inform visitors and residents of the local businesses which are parking disc suppliers.

In addition, information about parking and discs in the town will be posted on Morpeth Town Council’s noticeboard next to the Town Hall.