COUNCIL: Serve the taxpayers

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Since 2006, Bondicar Terrace in Blyth has been subject to the most draconian parking restrictions.

These restrictions apply solely to one section between Coomassie and Croft Road. Residents in other parts of Bondicar can park freely outside their own property.

The three residents’ parking bays between Coomassie and Croft Road which have been provided only have restrictions on Monday to Saturday. On Sundays anyone can park there.

The yellow line restriction applies every day of the week. This means residents can find the parking bays occupied and unable to park close to their own property, risking the security of their vehicles.

There have been a number of consultations since 2013, which the council has deemed “inconclusive”.

In 2016 it was proposed that the residents’ parking bays be removed. Two options were consulted on. One was to use ten metres of the loading bay behind Iceland, and the other was to allow residents to compete for space in the two parking bays opposite the Waterloo pub.

There would be no time limit for residents’ vehicles displaying the required permit, but others would be limited to two hours.

By December 2016 the highways office had decided to allocate 17 metres of the loading bay to residents, not behind Iceland, but behind Bargain Buys, the opposite end of the loading bay.

As this was not part of the consultation, I believe applying a Traffic Regulation Order is questionable.

In early March the council proposed to remove the single yellow line and replace it with residents’ parking bays along the length of Bondicar Terrace, consistent with other restrictions in the area, to commence on April 1.

This would allow residents to enjoy on-street parking, which is available everywhere else.

However, in late March residents were notified that this scheme was being cancelled because one resident objected and following a site visit, which was apparently attended by others. Residents affected were not notified of this meeting.

The council officer decided to cancel the project, saying that without unanimous support the scheme would fail. When pressed, the official did not feel it was necessary to consult any other residents before taking such a decision.

Of course, the current proposal to use the loading bay does not enjoy universal support either so why should that be favoured above any other?

Based on this experience, the records show that not only is the council taking a high-handed attitude, but I suggest it is indicative of a council approach of ‘what we want, we will have, and what local taxpayers want, they might get if it suits our objectives’.

On May 4 we are all invited to go to the polls to elect our council representative. I would urge all voters to elect councillors on the basis that the councillor is committed to holding council officers to account. If any candidate does not uphold such an obligation, then don’t vote for them.

This is an opportunity for the electorate of Northumberland to remind the council that we pay our local taxes for officers to serve our interests, we do not exist to serve the interests of the council.

E. Jim Bewlay