Sunday, 2 June 2013

Free Parking for all in Northumberland

Northumberland Labour understands how easily approximately two thirds of its population can travel into the Tyne and Wear conurbation or Carlisle to spend.

Almost two thirds of Northumberland‘s population live in the South East of the County and the Coastal coalfield with its mixture of all day free or time limited parking.

Northumberland Labour Group are not experts in traffic management, so, It is one of our manifesto promises ask Parish Councils in areas where NCC charges people to park and who have pressed for parking charges because they have traffic management problems if they wish us to retain charges in their area. We will urge Parish Councils to work with NCC's traffic management team over the next few months to produce parking plans and to come up with innovative solutions that see parking charges as a last resort, not the easiest fix.

Labour's Grant Davey the Leader of Council has written out to parishes to begin the process this week,
Dear Colleague


I am writing to you in connection with our Manifesto promise to offer the opportunity for free parking for all communities across Northumberland.

I am committed to following through on this promise.  However, I understand that you may have experienced traffic management problems within your community and may see parking charges as part of a solution.  I have therefore asked officers to work with you over the summer to establish a community based parking plan to help determine how you would like us to support you deal with the issues in your locality and the most appropriate methods of managing parking issues.

The Council’s parking team will be in touch shortly and will be working with both Town and Parish Councils over the summer to develop a local parking plan.

I have asked for this work to be concluded by the autumn, which should allow any revised arrangements to be agreed and implemented as soon as possible.

I’m sure you will be happy to work with us to establish the right solution for your community and look forward to working together to implement the best possible arrangements for your Town and Parish.

If you wish to discuss this further, please contact Lynne Ryan, Parking Manager on 01670 624120 or email

In some of those areas members of the business communities have submitted a petition to have charges removed, the Councils petitions committee will hear this petition during the consultation period with Parish Councils.

Grant Davey said: "we are aware that some areas believe parking charges to be the panacea to controlling traffic, from our experience working in Northumberland's largest townships where the County Council owns very few car parks and charges don't apply, we know that not to be the case. The Portas review has thrown up evidence that removing charges can increase casual retail trade in rural towns by two thirds. The review also asks that Parking Plans should reflect the needs of shoppers to increase vibrancy on our high streets. We want local businesses to benefit from the changes to our charging regime. Northumberland has a rapidly aging mobile population who can shop from Monday to Friday and it should be possible for most areas to remove or time limit parking on those days when pressure on space is reduced, or to produce seasonal parking plans that reflect the ebb and flow of tourist traffic in most of our beautiful towns and villages."

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