HUNDREDS of new parking spaces are set to be created in Hexham as part of a countywide scheme.

Northumberland County Council this week revealed that it would pour £10m into parking improvements throughout the county, and confirmed it had identified a site in Hexham to secure in excess of 250 new spaces.

The council would not reveal the location due to commercial confidentiality, but one site already considered has been the bunker site on Alemouth Road.

The plot of land is just one of a number of sites earmarked to improve parking across Tynedale.

In addition to the extra 250 spaces, the removal of HGV parking at the Wentworth car park in Hexham will be carried out to add extra parking capacity, as well as reducing health and safety issues associated with pedestrian use of the area. Improved direction signs are also being developed and will be issued to Hexham Town Council for feedback.

In Corbridge, work is progressing to extend the long stay car park on the south side of the bridge.

Additional parking bays for Hill Street and Main Street have been identified too, while two other sites are being investigated.

The expanded car park in Merton Way, in Ponteland, has now been opened and new on-street bays are currently being created. In agreement with Ponteland Town Council, disc parking will be introduced for both on and off-street bays.

However, the developments will come at a cost with parking charges to be introduced at various free car parks across Northumberland, including at Prudhoe’s Tyne Riverside Country Park. The car park, in addition to those in seven coastal tourist spots and four railway stations, will see charges of £3 a day being introduced. It is proposed that charges would be increased at six of the seven car parks where charging is already in place.

Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “We know parking is an issue about which many people feel strongly and that’s why we’ve invested so much in improvements.

“There’s an urgent need to provide more spaces in our county and we’ve worked closely with our parish and town council colleagues in our towns and villages and there is still a lot more to come.

“However, there is absolutely no plans to introduce parking charges in existing town centre car parks.”