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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ponteland Will Oppose Parking Charges

Bringing in car parking charges for public spaces in Ponteland would do much more harm than good claims its Town councillors.
A number of members said charges would be inappropriate for the area when discussing Northumberland County Council's questionnaire on the subject.

People can currently stop in Ponteland's public car parks without paying and this is also the case with towns in Blyth Valley and Wansbeck.

But motorists are faced with charges when they park in other towns such as Morpeth, Alnwick, Hexham and Berwick.

Coun Irene Brumwell said: "If parking charges are brought in, Ponteland will bleed out as people will ignore it and do all their shopping in other places such as Kingston Park.

"If there are any moves to make people pay here, we must do all we can to oppose them."

Fellow member Joyce Butcher said that paying to park would mean fewer people going to shop at the proposed new Merton Way shopping centre.

The questionnaire is the first step in the County Council's review of car parking across Northumberland that aims to establish a single framework for all parking facilities it owns or manages, with local conditions in each area to be considered objectively.

Coun Alan Chilton expressed his hope that charges will not be the same throughout the County.

"Each place that has public car parks should be valued on its own merits," he said.

"Other towns may need charges to reduce congestion but that is not needed here, so forcing people to pay would be done purely to bring in money."

Ponteland Mayor Robin Ramsay said the response will need to be carefully thought through as the questionnaire deals with issues — including ways to free up public spaces that are used by business owners and workers who don't have their own spaces such as short-term stay car parks — which it may want to support.

But he added: "Whilst it talks about a consistent approach when it comes to car parking management, we can still say to the County Council that charging in Ponteland would be inappropriate."
The response to the questionnaire will be discussed by its Highways Working Group.

A second phase of public consultation across Northumberland will take place once a County-wide policy has been drafted.

Source: Morpeth Herald