Concern over parking bays

NEW parking bays could be created in Morpeth, but councillors say they must be closely monitored.

Northumberland County Council has proposed introducing a small number of short-stay spaces in Newmarket for shoppers to park for up to 30 minutes.

However, members of Morpeth Town Council say bays will only be appropriate on one side of the street due to congestion, and that the time limit should be restricted to 20 minutes to tie in with the proposed town-wide parking strategy.

They also called for strict enforcement of the regulations.

Coun David Parker said: “I want to ask the county council about enforcement. I think enforcement is pertinent here, as it is everywhere else, but the location of these bays makes it all the more important.

“The particular area that we are talking about has been a real problem. We almost get to gridlock on occasions down there.

“There is a great deal of illegal parking down there now and there is a great deal of double parking. It causes an obstruction. Obstruction is a crime and people need to be aware of that.

“I would say no to any bays down there unless the parking controls are going to be enforced.

“I think we should also be suggesting a 20-minute limit in line with what we are proposing in our parking plan.”

The issue was discussed at the town’s Planning and Transport Committee when other councillors raised similar concerns.

Committee Chairman Ken Brown said: “We have agreed that 20 minutes should be the duration of very short-stay parking bays so we need to point that out.

“Last month the county council objected to an application by Wetherspoon’s to open side doors on the basis that they would open onto the highway and here we are with a proposal to put parking bays right outside the existing doors. It seems to be inconsistent.

“I have no problem with bays on the other side of the road in front of Fountain House because there is a layby there.”

Coun Bob Robertson added: “This is formalising the area where people break the law anyway.”

The comments will be passed on to the county council for consideration.