The operation of parking in Newcastle upon Tyne is getting back to normal, with charging, bus lane enforcement and patrols reinstated. To support key workers, Newcastle City Council suspended fees for both on-street parking and using off-street car parks. However, with the government urging those who are unable to work from home to return to work, charges were reintroduced from 18 May.
NHS workers, however, can still park for free in Newcastle even though charging has resumed in city council car parks. “NHS staff can, in line with government guidance, park in our other on-street and off-street pay & display bays for free. We continue to encourage healthcare workers to register their car details with us to avoid being issued with a warning or parking ticket.”
The council is also providing free parking specifically for critical care workers at the Royal Victoria Infirmary at four car parks. These spaces are being made available on a first come, first served basis, with extra patrols by parking enforcement staff ensuring that they are not being misused by non-healthcare workers.
Cllr Nick Kemp, cabinet member for environment and regulatory services, said: “As one of the first councils to introduce free parking for key workers we have been proud to support the vital contribution that frontline staff are making to our communities. However, what was initially a three week initiative has now lasted almost two months and cost us around £1m. From the outset we’ve said we would review this temporary measure and, with government lockdown advice beginning to ease, we now feel the time is right to reassess, reintroducing fees for the increasing number of people who may be looking to park, and generating funds to support council services.”
During the lockdown parking staff were redeployed to assist with deliveries of food and with traffic management duties around the council’s reopened waste and recycling centres. Many are now returning to patrol and back office duties.
Enforcement has recommenced in residential parking areas. In recognition of the lockdown period current permit holders – including those who have resident, visitor, business, charity, landlord, tradesmen or city centre resident permits – will see seven weeks added to their next pass when they come to renew.
Enforcement of bus lane restrictions has also recommenced and all penalty charge notices (PCNs) that had been placed on hold during lockdown will be processed and responded to. If someone received a PCN in early March, or their case was at or nearing the debt recovery stage, it will now be dealt with.
The council hopes that more people will choose to cycle to work. Around one in 14 people in Newcastle already cycle to work and the council wants to encourage more to use greener travel options. The city centre has parking for more than 1,150 bikes and around 16 km of cycle routes.
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