NEW parking bays in Crook should benefit the town, but potential problems caused by council staff leaving cars in the marketplace all day need addressing, councillors have claimed. 

Durham County Council’s highways committee agreed this morning (April 9) to replace certain no waiting areas throughout Crook with bays for up to 30 minutes parking in a move to make it easier and more attractive for people to visit the town.

Five businesses and residents objected to the new proposals but the council’s strategic traffic manager Dave Wafer said the measures would benefit the town centre by allowing more people to park.

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While supporting the new restrictions, committee members raised concerns about the overall problem of parking in Crook, specifically in the market place.

Charlie Kay, councillor for Coundon, said Crook’s parking problems stem from the market place being used by people staying in Crook for the whole day.

He said: “The marketplace is full of the same vehicles all day every day.

“It is always full, has any consideration been taken to free up the marketplace for people like me to call into Crook for a couple of hours to go to the shops?

“I’m not saying where these people who park there all day are going but I think it is clear what the problem is.”

Mark Wilkes, councillor for Framwellgate and Newton Hall, said he believed the suggestion was council staff are causing the problem by parking in the market place all day when they go to work at Crook Civic Centre.

He said: “What was being suggested is the cars being parked there are council staff.

“It is possible it is council staff, if it is our own staff causing the problem for the people of Crook we should look at that.”

He said the council has travel plans and should work with staff to ensure problems are not being caused for other users of the town.

The council will introduce the bays, which will be de-restricted on Sundays and between 6pm and 9am during the week, on Church Street and Hope Street.

Mr Wafer said: “The aim of the council is to provide a vibrant town centre where potential customers can easily access shops and services.

“The bays we propose will go some way towards meeting this.”