Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Free Parking Boost to Tourism

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Free Parking Boost to Tourism

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Luke Reporter

Picture: Jim Jones - Flickr member PARKING could be free of charge at all Northumberland country parks after county councillors backed a new proposal.

The move would follow April's axing of council car park fees in eight towns and villages, including Alnwick, Morpeth and Berwick, aimed at increasing visitors numbers and addressing inequality with the south east of the county, which had not charged.

Now Northumberland County Council's Labour administration has included getting rid of charges in country parks ranging from Blyth Links to Bolam Lake and Druridge Bay to Ashington's QE II, in its budget proposals for 2015/16.

The plan will form part an eight week public consultation starting today into budget plans, which include more than PS350 million of capital investment in local projects, alongside suggested ways of saving PS44m by 2017.

A Labour group spokesman said the free parking plan would lead to increased visitor numbers across the county and add to its attractiveness as a destination.

He said: "We're keen to make it easier and cheaper for people to enjoy Northumberland's natural beauty spots and what the county has to offer.

"This is another move by this Labour administration to support our local economy against the backdrop of savage coalition cuts to the county budget. "We're hopeful that opposition parties will back our common sense budget aimed at securing and creating jobs by encouraging more people to enjoy the county."

If the plans go ahead, other sites to benefit would include Bedlington Country Park along the banks of the river Blyth, Plessey Woods Country Park, Wansbeck Riverside Park, Tyne Riverside Country Park near Prudhoe and Tyne Green Country Park near Hexham.

However, the budget also includes increasing council tax by 1. …

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