TALL SHIPS: Is parking notice legal?

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I read with some curiosity the response to my letter from Councillor Val Tyler, of the Arts and Leisure group on Northumberland County Council, regarding parking arrangements for the Tall Ships Regatta, (News Post Leader, August 11).

In this response Coun Tyler claims consultation began in the spring.

In fact, the first inkling I had of the traffic management programme came with a letter dated early May from Nigel Walsh, setting out an exclusion zone for the town centre (Red Zone).

Residents in our area did not receive this letter until over a month later. The excuse was that on the day of delivery a dog was on the loose and for health and safety reasons the delivery in our area was abandoned.

The first official notification came with the Traffic Regulation Order proposal published in the News Post Leader on Thursday, August 4, which imposes restrictions from August 20 to September 3.

My understanding of the legal requirements is that a six-week consultation is to be allowed. If this is true, the order cannot be effective until September 15 at the earliest, but when did legal niceties interfere with the county council’s aim to raise revenue from parking?

So on what basis does Coun Tyler make the claim “our consultation meets all legal requirements”?

After all, the Tall Ships Regatta has been known about for over two years so why wait until three weeks before the event to publish the traffic management plans?

Finally, I share Coun Tyler’s desire for the Tall Ships Regatta to be an incredibly exciting event, which attracts large numbers of visitors to enjoy the facilities of our quaint little port on the north east coast.

However, based on my experience of the bike race, which had similar expectations, I live in anticipation rather than confidence.

T Thepes

Blyth