Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Prudhoe's Parking Woes do have a Solution.

The Hexham Courant on Friday 12th June 2015 ran two stories on opposite pages. Allendale adopts its Neighbourhood Development Plan. Prudhoe has no current project to create one. The second story quoting several Prudhoe Councillors developed the parking challenges which are clearly the subject of some energised discussion in the town. Attention was given to the challenges at Highfield School. This has prompted me to write an open letter to the Mayor which I will clip in below. It must be obvious to everyone that with the depth of feeling being reported that doing NOTHING about Prudhoe's parking issues is not sustainable. But so much of this comes back to the need for Prudhoe to develop its own plan and for subjects like Transport which used to be a topic for a Prudhoe Community Partnership working group to be given more attention. The letter follows:

Dear Eileen
I am writing to you in your role as the Mayor of Prudhoe to offer some thoughts on your comments published in the Hexham Courant on Friday June 12th about parking in Prudhoe. I will publish this letter on Facebook as Taking Pride in Prudhoe and I will do the same with any reply.

You and other councillors are quite right to be concerned about car parking throughout Prudhoe and especially with schools. The subject could be one that a properly convened Transport Sub Committee of the Town Council could address. It is also one that should be the subject of a Neighbourhood Development Plan. Incidentally on the opposite page in the same Courant a story hails the adoption of Allendale’s one. Will Prudhoe Town Council (bearing in mind the advice of ALL candidates at the General Election Hustings) be moving to create one soon?

With regard to the specific school parking issues, I can think of some solutions.

At Highfield. Two existing public car parks are quite close. The one adjacent to Fair View and the one at Highfields Play Park. It would be possible to yellow line the roads outside the schools and insist no-one drops children or waits to pick them up adjacent to the school.

That is a solution although it will not be completely welcomed. There is another solution. The entire road layout at Highfields is poor. It is my understanding that the County owns the land on the inside of the bend opposite the school entrance? Without changing any existing demarcated boundaries, I would think a relatively minor road improvement scheme could re-arrange the road layout and create a new pick up and drop off point or lane, on the school side of the road. The road would be improved and the school gain some room for parents.

The same problem exists at Castle School. Here in my opinion, the solution which will also address the Eltingham Court access issue is to make parts of Castle Road (perhaps west of the postbox, to be considered in detail) a one way road with access onto the bypass. This would give the room to mark up outside Castle School a proper set down/pick up area. Safety might require a roundabout at Hammerite. Then get on and do that.

Prudhoe is in the midst of expansion which will see the population grow in thousands. These problems are not going to go away, they are only going to increase. Unless schemes of investment are campaigned for and monies found, the situations that have led to the outbursts recorded in the Courant will keep continuing. A similar situation affects the need for a new Tyne Bridge and a road north to Horsley Interchange and another improved route on existing public roads south to the Derwent Valley at Ebchester (out via Moor Road). Unless Prudhoe addresses its own strategic needs and insists they go on the agenda of the County Council, you can anticipate the community tied in knots as illustrated in the Courant and with 400+ more houses at the Hospital site, the need to tackle these planning issues is absolutely pressing.

Yours sincerely

Robert Forsythe

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