Berwick’s car parking petition

A PETITION calling for the re-introduction of short-stay parking in Berwick town centre has been launched.

Grace Douglas, a former member of Berwick Borough Council, who created the petition said: “Berwick town centre is really struggling at the moment and I feel the parking situation is at the root of its problems, particularly the lack of short-stay parking on Marygate.”

The petition has been handed out to dozens of shops around the town in the past few days and has already received scores of signatures from residents and visitors.

Its launch comes on the back of a Facebook campaign instigated by Berwick woman Julie Taylor which attracted a huge response to its call for improvements to the town centre.

An action group, Berwick Deserves Better, is in the process of arranging a meeting with Berwick Town Council and is compiling a letter to Sir Alan Beith MP.

Julie said: “I know we’d all like to wave a magic wand and have the whole thing sorted but, being realistic, let’s walk before we can run. If we can get some action on smaller issues that will start the ball rolling.”

There is a growing groundswell of opinion that the £850,000 part-pedestrianisation of Marygate - with the loss of short-stay parking - carried out in 2004 must be reversed to arrest its decline.

The difficult economic situation of the last few years has had a marked impact resulting in a number of store closures.

More recently, the clampdown on illegal parking by the county council’s new civil parking enforcement officers has raised fears that drivers are avoiding the town centre altogether, especially when they can get free parking at out-of-town retail parks and supermarkets.

Stall holders on Berwick’s ancient charter market believe the lack of parking is the main reason why it is struggling at the moment.