Council officers “must be living in cloud cuckoo land or have never been to Seaton Delaval” if they believe there is no parking problem in the town, councillors were told last week.
Northumberland County Council’s south east area planning committee was told concerns had been raised over parking in response to an application to turn a disused freezer shop in Avenue Road into a restaurant.
However, a planning officer’s report, presented by area development manager Jennie Adamson, said: “The applicant would not be required to provide any specific parking for the restaurant.
“This is due to it being a town centre location and therefore sustainable, with parking areas nearby and around the vicinity of the Co-op store, and within the council offices car park.
“This car park is now rarely used and is available all evenings and nights”
But Gordon Dawson, of Avenue Road, speaking out against the application, said: “I think they are either living in cloud cuckoo land or have never been to Seaton Delaval.
“The parking is horrendous. It is disgusting.
“The town centre is choc-a-bloc seven days a week.
“I live on the opposite side of the road to this shop, and twice this year, I have had to get a taxi to hospital because I could not get my car out.”
Coun Grant Davey expressed concern that the county council was “trying very, very hard” to sell its offices there.
“In the evenings the people from the community centre in Elsdon Avenue and the people from the club a couple of hundred yards away from this shop use the car park at the council offices as an overspill car park,” said Coun Davey, of Blyth’s Kitty Brewster ward.
“Mr Dawson is quite correct. During the day, it is very busy on both sides of the street, and when this facility is gone, there will be no overflow car park, and these cars will be out on that street.
“It is a real concern.”
However, principal planning officer John Dowsett said the committee had to consider applications as and when it received them.
He said he was unaware of any proposals for the council offices and did not think they were closing “just yet”.
“At the time, we are considering this application, car parking is available,” he said. “We have to take applications as we find them, and car parking is available.”
The committee agreed to accept the recommendation to approve the application for a new restaurant.