The leader of Northumberland County Council has today announced plans for several multi-storey car parks to manage the growing number of workers, shoppers and visitors – and one is earmarked for Morpeth.
Coun Grant Davey has revealed he aims to provide residents all across the county with much-requested extra parking spaces. The first towns to benefit would be Morpeth, Hexham, Ashington and Cramlington and while exact locations and costs need to be further explored, the Labour leader wants the projects included in February’s council budget.
He said: “Our investment in our market towns is about regeneration, making sure all of them thrive both now and into the future. The administration’s work means more people will live, work and visit all our towns so car journeys will continue to rise.
“It’s important we look now at our future needs and address them. I want to secure provision in our forthcoming budget to move these plans forward.”
He added that the car parks would be funded by the financial success of the administration selling the County Hall site for developments, including a new Morpeth First School, while moving into a smaller HQ in Ashington.
The county council has already identified opportunities to generate more than £33million in capital income, contribute significantly to economic growth and regeneration and make annual savings in running costs of £2million by selling off its surplus buildings and ensuring all its remaining properties are fit for purpose.
Coun David Bawn, ward member for Morpeth North, said: “It is heartening to see that the council leadership have finally followed the lead of Conservative campaigners and belatedly recognised the increasing problems relating to parking in Morpeth and other market towns.
“I sincerely hope this is isn’t policy made on the hoof for cynical political reasons with the local elections coming up.
“If the administration is genuine in its desire to address this issue, I ask them to immediately abandon any planned sell-off of parking spaces in our market towns, especially the Riverside site in Morpeth.”