Northumberland pub car park plan splits community

A Northumberland pub's plans for a new car park have been lodged with Northumberland County Council but has divided its community

The Joiners Arms at Newton-By-The-Sea, near Alnwick
The Joiners Arms at Newton-By-The-Sea, near Alnwick

A pub in a Northumberland coastal community has divided residents over its plans for a new car park.

The Joiners Arms at Newton-By-The-Sea, near Alnwick, is seeking planning permission for the creation of a 32 space car park.

However, the move has split the community.

Eighty seven letters of support have been lodged with Northumberland County Council, while the authority’s tourism and culture development boss has welcomed the plan.

Yet 40 objections have also been penned, alongside opposition from the community’s parish council, the guardians of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in which Newton-By-The-Sea sits and the Newton Trust.

A decision on the planning application is to be made tomorrow night, with council officers siding with supporters and recommending approval.

The proposal has been submitted by Newton Hall (Northumberland) Ltd, owners of the Newton Hall hotel and wedding venue as well as the pub.

The application seeks approval to create the car park on land behind the pub, on Town Close.

Council papers tell how the pub was extended and renovated in 2011 resulting in a “significant uplift” in trade.

Officers say that since the work was carried out, “significant problems” have arisen with “indiscriminate parking” in the area, as a result of the pub having only four spaces at its front.

Motorists parked on village green areas – causing them “significant” damage and ultimately to be fenced off.

A bus which turns in the vicinity has also been unable to do so on occasions as a result of the congestion.

The Joiners’ owners, therefore, proposed the new parking area to “serve the pub and relieve the parking situation within the village.”

Supporters cite the difficulty in finding a parking space on visiting the pub, the fact the site would be easier to visit for customers including the elderly and disabled, and the need to ensure the sustainability of the business.

They also say the removal of cars from the front of the pub would improve residents’ amenity and the character and appearance of the area.

Yet objectors have cited potential impacts on the community, amid concerns over lighting and flood risk.

They say alternative locations have been suggested including Newton Hall, with the proposed site not all within the applicants’ ownership.

Parish council chairman Bob Foster-Smith last night said members are mostly concerned at the impact on the amenity of residents on Town Close whose homes would back onto the site.

He said: “The parish council is not unsympathetic with the need for a car park.

“We just do not think this is the right location. It seems to have a maximum impact on the village.”

The application goes before the council’s North area planning committee tomorrow night with a recommendation to approve.

Newton Hall (Northumberland) Ltd failed to provide a comment.

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