Extra parking bays are planned for town centre

Taxi Rank at Morpeth.'REF 0801157873
Taxi Rank at Morpeth.'REF 0801157873

New short-stay parking bays are set to be created in Morpeth town centre.

Northumberland County Council is considering plans to allow parking in a layby alongside the Market Place for up to 30 minutes, between 8am and 7pm. After 7pm the existing ‘taxi-only’ restriction would remain.

Morpeth Town Council’s Planning and Transport Committee welcomed the proposal, but pointed out that provision must be made for market traders.

Coun Nic Best said: “There is no variation to this on market days when there would need to be some restriction of the bays during loading and unloading periods for the traders. Most could unload within an hour, but if two or three cars are already parked there for half an hour it would cause problems.”

And Coun Dave Pope suggested that there should be no parking at all there on market days due to safety concerns.

“On market days there are more pedestrians and it is quite a dangerous corner,” he said.

“Perhaps the bays shouldn’t be available to the public at all on market days. I’m thinking in terms of pedestrian safety because when the stalls are up the lines of sight to the left and right are restricted.”

Coun Alison Byard said it would be difficult to identify specific times as traders may pack up early in bad weather.

But Coun Bob Robertson said it was important to keep the regulations simple.

“We are trying to increase the amount of short-stay parking in the town. There are going to be occasions when we want to disable those bays, but we need to keep it simple. If we start putting additional rules and regulations in it is going to become unwieldy,” he said.

Coun David Clark suggested the use of traffic cones to control the bays.

“It’s simple, when the brightly coloured cones are out, you can’t park there,” he said.

“I think these little drop-off places are a great asset.”