Parking charges to fund park upgrades

A runner enjoys the route around Bolam Lake Country Park. Picture by Jane Coltman.
A runner enjoys the route around Bolam Lake Country Park. Picture by Jane Coltman.

Plans to improve Bolam Lake Country Park have been put forward – and it is proposed to fund the upgrade via car-parking charges.

Northumberland County Council is proposing to refurbish the existing toilet block to provide a more fit-for-purpose facility, as well as consider some provision for adventure play and wildlife viewing facilities that fit in with the natural setting of the park.

It is part of an almost £1million scheme to improve Bolam Lake, as well as Druridge Bay Country Park and Plessey Woods Country Park elsewhere in the county.

In order to pay for this investment, it is proposed that parking charges will be reintroduced at the three sites, although the first hour would be free of charge.

All-day parking would cost £3, while up to two hours would be £1.60. Season permits valid in all three parks would cost £35.

Council leader Peter Jackson said: “The fact that these country parks are valued by residents and visitors is evidenced by the great increase in the numbers of visitors over the last few years.

“The existing facilities have been suffering from neglect for a number of years and we want to turn that around.

“These country parks all have their own unique character and are fantastic places to visit, but it’s important they offer the very best experience to visitors.

“We’re proposing a major investment of almost £1million to carry out a range of work at the three sites to significantly enhance their appeal as great places to visit – so they become jewels in Northumberland’s crown.

“While the major improvements will take place at these three parks, a number of visitor access improvements will also be carried out at other country parks across the county, including upgrading paths and car parks.”

The plans will be considered by the council’s decision-making cabinet later this month.