LIFTING of parking restrictions in a Northumberland seaside town has been hailed a success. Businesses at Amble and Northumberland County Council say the creation of extra parking space in the town before Christmas has helped boost trade.
The easing of restrictions had come about after 3,400 people signed a petition calling for more parking in the town. The council and businesses are to continue working on a long-term solution to Amble’s parking shortage.
Up until December, the town’s main shopping street, Queen Street, had around 20 designated loading bays, with people given tickets if they were caught parking in them.
Ann Burke, owner of card shop 42 Queen Street, set up the petition as she and other businesses there were growing increasingly alarmed over the loss of trade caused by the lack of parking.
Within a week, Mrs Burke had gathered more than 3,400 signatures which she presented to the county council.
She then represented Amble Business club, of which she is a member and former secretary, at a meeting with county council officers and Amble Town Council, at which a temporary solution was thrashed out and long-term options discussed.
The temporary solution saw the loading bays freed up for parking, with this implemented in time for Christmas ahead of an order being brought in which will be in place for a year.
A report to a council meeting next week says: “The general feeling is that there has been an improvement in trade.”
Last night, business club chairman Colin Harris agreed, saying: “It made a big difference. There were still people who parked in the wrong place.
“But it was a pretty positive move in terms of footfall and trading.
“A lot of businesses were very happy with the fact it changed.
“However those that were scared away may well be scared away permanently.”
The report to the meeting of the council’s North area committee says that the authority has agreed to come up with a long-term proposal for consultation which could then be progressed subject to funding.
This was welcomed by Mr Harris, who runs a website development company on Queen Street.
He said: “Our next goal is to try and identify where else in Amble can be used for parking because there are not enough places in Amble.
“There is no point in them spending money on regenerating the high street and funding the tourist attractions when there is nowhere for people to park when they come into Amble.
“It needs a bit of joined-up thinking.”