The regeneration of Northumberland’s market towns is doing so well that the county council’s leader has today announced plans for several multi-storey car parks to manage the growing number of workers, shoppers and visitors.
Councillor Grant Davey has revealed he aims to provide residents all across the county with much-requested extra parking spaces. The first towns to benefit would be Morpeth, Hexham, Ashington and Cramlington – and while exact locations and costs need to be further explored, Cllr Davey wants the projects included in February’s council budget.
He said: “Our investment in our market towns is about regeneration, making sure all of them thrive both now and into the future. The administration’s work means more people will live, work and visit all our towns so car journeys will continue to rise.
“It’s important we look now at our future needs and address them. I want to secure provision in our forthcoming budget to move these plans forward.”
He added that the car parks would be funded by the financial success of the administration selling the redundant County Hall site for developments including a much-wanted new Morpeth First School and returning hundreds of council jobs providing frontline services to the market towns, while moving into a smaller HQ in Ashington.
The county council has already identified opportunities to generate more than £33 million in capital income, contribute significantly to economic growth and regeneration and make annual savings in running costs of £2 million by selling off its surplus buildings and ensuring all its remaining properties are fit for purpose.
It has also been investing in a range of properties to help regenerate the market towns, including the refurbishment of Hexham House to become a wedding venue plus holiday rentals and repurposing Northumberland Hall in Alnwick as an event and wedding location, both of which will bring in extra revenue to fund residents’ services.