Last year’s introduction of free parking in Morpeth has been successful, according to a new report.
Following the county council elections in May 2013, one of the new Labour administration’s initiatives was to allow town and parish councils to decide whether or not to introduce free parking in their areas.
Time-limited but free parking, using a disc system, for short stay bays was introduced in Morpeth and the county’s other market towns in April last year and became legally enforceable on June 2.
A report to a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s communities and local services committee states that ‘free parking has been successfully implemented and in the main has been positively received and in general has increased footfall and trade in town centres’.
Regarding Morpeth, it says that footfall in the town centre has gone up, with Sanderson Arcade reporting an increase of 17.8 per cent in 2014 compared to 2013 and this year so far, compared to last year, there has been a rise of 6.3 per cent.
It continues: ‘The general view is that the disc system is working well. Disc dispensers have been installed and signage regarding the other disc outlets is in place.
‘There is concern regarding the lack of long-stay car parks in the town for workers, however, there are also concerns regarding the lack of short-stay parking close to Newgate Street and it is felt by the Morpeth Chamber of Trade that this needs to be addressed as a priority in order to support the businesses in that location’.