Car parking saga continues
Amble’s lack of an all day car park in the town centre continues to vex residents and business owners, and a permanent solution seems to be as far away as ever.
As things stand, two of the existing town centre car parks are owned by private individuals, with one being leased to the County Council.
Amble Business Club chair Ann Burke said, “We have been meeting with Northumberland County Council (NCC) for five years and we still have no permanent solution.
“If either of the two car parks should be altered by their owners, there is nothing we can do about it. It’s their land, they have every right. Amble needs a long term car park, for business workers and for locals and visitors who need to stay longer than four hours.”
Recent alterations to the car park on Coquet Street, owned by Amble Marina brought the issue into focus, prompting fears the facility could be closed for some time.
The Ambler understands that work on the land will continue intermittently as the Marina reconfigures the layout, but that the intention is not to close during school holidays.
The car park behind Tesco is privately owned land which has been leased to Northumberland County Council. The Ambler understands the lease is for an undetermined period with a months notice to quit.
In contrast to Amble’s protracted discussions, NCC recently commissioned parking studies for Morpeth, Alnwick, Hexham and Berwick, in order to develop strategies for their future parking needs. “We’ve been telling the county council for years that these were temporary car parks, but they still don’t seem to believe we need a long term car park. There’s been so much money spent by the council on tourism projects, but a visitor can’t come and stay for the day, so we’re driving people away,” said Ann.
“On the first weekend in February, all the car parks were full, the Marina, the four hour car park behind Tesco, the one next to Sea and Soil, were all full. Even the harbour car park was full. It was a nice day, people were out and about. What’s it going to be like at Easter? And it’s not just visitors, how far can they expect elderly people to carry heavy shopping?”
Julia Aston, Director of Amble Development Trust said “During the five years we’ve been meeting to discuss this, and to try to find a resolution, we have looked at every piece of land, trying to overcome any land ownership and restrictions. If there was an easy solution, we would have found it by now!
“There are various options, the Braid was one of them, but obviously that was met with public opposition. There is a will by all involved, and we will continue investigating all options that present themselves to us. At a recent meeting I had with our MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, I broached the matter, and she has agreed to look further into it. We do need a solution soon to ensure the vibrancy of our high street.”
Northumberland County Council were asked for a comment, but at time of going to press, had not replied.