1. ITV Report

Car parks set to reopen across Northumberland

Blyth, where car parks are set to reopen. Credit: PA Images

Many of the car parks on the Northumberland coast and in other visitor hotspots will be reopening later this week.

Since the Government eased the coronavirus restrictions so that 'unlimited' exercise is allowed as well as sunbathing on beaches and in parks, Northumberland County Council had opted to keep its visitor car parks closed, pending full assessment that it is safe to reopen them.

Now, the local authority has announced a phased approach, with 41 of the 53 car parks currently shut back in action by Friday, May 22. Those in the likes of Bamburgh, Craster, Holy Island, Rothbury and Seahouses will be staying shut.

The council says it has considered factors such as the ability to socially distance within the car park and the surrounding area, the impact on and the views of the local community, and where vehicles might otherwise park and cause problems if the car park remains shut.

Signs are being updated to remind people that they must maintain social-distancing measures at all times, that meeting in groups is not permitted and to maintain good hand hygiene. People are still being urged to stay at home as much as possible.

Further work is being undertaken to ensure public toilets, which are in some of the car parks, meet safety and social-distancing standards, so some may not be open on Friday.

Coun Glen Sanderson, the cabinet member for local services, said:

We want to reiterate that while lockdown is easing slightly, the pandemic is by no means over. It was vital we took a cautious approach and kept our car parks closed until we fully assessed it is safe to open them.

Although some are now reopening we would ask people when they do go out to exercise to do so with caution, keep their distance and respect the local communities.

We know how much our coastline and countryside means to people but we are duty bound to be cautious. We've taken a very careful and considered approach and this has been a difficult decision, but we feel on balance we should open up a number of them to the public.

We would ask that if people do travel somewhere to exercise, to be respectful and sensible and not block roads where people live.

– Coun Glen Sanderson, Northumberland County Council

The car parks reopening by Friday, May 22, are: Amble, Island View; Amble, Beacon Hill; Amble, Togston Links; Amble, Links; Amble, Dunes; Amble, Braid; Ashington, Blackclose Dene; Ashington, Hirst Park; Ashington, Wansbeck Riverside Park; Beadnell; Bedlington Country Park (both sites); Berwick, Pier Field; Berwick, Sandy Beach; Spittal, South Greenwich road; Spittal Point; Spittal, Sandstell Road; Blyth, Beachway; Blyth, Mermaid; Blyth, The Ranch; Blyth, Ridley Park; Boulmer Village; Cambois, Buccaneer; Cambois, Outfall; Cambois, Level Crossing; Cambois, Beach House; Corbridge Village; Cresswell, Dunes; Cresswell, Pond; Cresswell, Golden sands; Dunstan Steads; East Cramlington LNR (both); Hadston Scars; Newton-By-The-Sea, Newton Steads; Newton-By-The-Sea, Low Newton; Seaton Sluice, Holywell Dene; Seaton Sluice, Old Hartley; Seaton Sluice, Fountain Head; Warkworth, Dunes Road; Warkworth, Beach Road.

The car parks remaining closed are: Amble, Paddlers Park; Bamburgh, Links Road; Berwick, Castlegate Overflow; Craster, Quarry; Holy Island, Green Lane; Holy Island, Chare Ends; Newbiggin Church Point; High Newton, Newton-By-The-Sea; Seahouses, Station Yard; Rothbury, Beggars Rigg; Rothbury, Cowhaugh; Wylam (Tyne Riverside Country Park).