An extra car park to provide much-needed additional spaces at Morpeth railway station has been given the green light.
The planning application for the 27-space site, across Coopies Lane from the station building, was approved by eight votes to zero, with one abstention, at Monday’s (May 13) meeting of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council.
There is currently a Northern Rail-owned car park directly adjacent to the station, which charges £3 to park all day, as well as a council car park further down on Coopies Lane, which is free, although the council agreed in February to introduce charges in order to help fund the development of these new spaces.
However, there remains significant pressure on spaces for commuters and other travellers, with reports of problems and disruption in housing estates in the surrounding area.
The new car park, along with a new access junction, drainage infrastructure, street lighting and landscaping, had sparked no objections, but had to be decided by councillors as it’s the local authority itself seeking permission for a development on council-owned land.
Morpeth Town Council welcomes the additional spaces, while there had been one letter of support received, from operator TransPennine Express.
It said: ‘In December 2019, TransPennine Express will introduce hourly train services north towards Edinburgh and south towards Newcastle, York, Leeds, Huddersfield, Manchester and Liverpool from Morpeth station.
‘Demand for car parking at Morpeth station is high and the spaces provided by this planning application will help meet that demand.’
Coun Richard Dodd said: “It’s a great scheme, I have seen that land empty for years, probably a decade.
“If anyone’s dropping off, picking up, trying to get a train and they have a ticket for a specific train, it’s often quite challenging. I hope this encourages people to use Morpeth station more.”
Earlier this year, Morpeth Stobhill councillor John Beynon welcomed the proposals for these extra spaces, but also called for continued pressure on the rail companies who own land near the station.
A report to councillors had explained that more significant expansion of parking would require use of land that is currently owned by Network Rail and the council is in talks with both Network Rail and Northern Rail.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service