HEXHAM’S mayor has accused the county council of paying “lip service” in addressing the town’s parking problems.

Chairman of Hexham Town Council, Coun. Trevor Cessford, raised the issue at Monday’s meeting of Hexham Town Council.

He described a recent meeting with Northumberland County Council officers and Hexham traders, who have been calling for immediate action of car parking in the town.

Coun. Cessford said: “It was clear that the traders became well aware of what we’ve been having to put up with for three years.

“There is no visible sense of urgency or desire to alleviate issues that have come about since the loss of around 500 long-stay places in Hexham.

“For three years we have campaigned and the words lip service do come to mind.”

Coun. Cessford compared the situation in Hexham with that of Ashington, which has been subject to a parking study commissioned by Northumberland County Council.

He said: “We went to a meeting and they came with a map with a red circle drawn on it. The only other information is a business plan we have presented a number of times.

“There is a 100-page document contracted for a survey for Ashington.

“On the one hand there is no will to do anything, on the other hand you have a 100-page document about Ashington.”

Northumberland County Council said it was “actively working” to address Hexham’s parking issues.

A spokeswoman said: “We would strongly refute any comments that we are not taking action regarding parking in Hexham.

“The council has already announced its commitment to developing a multi-storey car park to increase overall capacity, and consultants are looking at sites and carrying out feasibility work for this project.

“We are also looking for short-term solutions to car parking capacity issues until the multi-storey proposal can be delivered and are actively working to identify any opportunities on council-owned land and also working with the town council to identify other land or sites that could be used.”