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Arena residents' parking scheme put on hold
COUNCIL bosses will not be implementing a parking restrictions scheme near the former home of Darlington FC for rugby matches being held there.
Darlington Mowden Park rugby club took over The Northern Echo Arena earlier this year, after it had stood dormant for several months following the football club’s departure.
Temporary parking restrictions, for the benefit of local residents, used to be put in place for football matches at the arena.
But Darlington Borough Council has now written to residents saying it is not intending to enforce the restrictions for rugby matches at the venue, but would do so for bigger events such as concerts.
In a letter to residents, the council's traffic management and road safety expert Brenda Bowles said: “The parking scheme was introduced when the football stadium opened, to alleviate parking problems that home matches could cause to local residents.
“Although the residents’ parking scheme still exists, we will not be implementing it for the rugby matches now being held at the arena.
“The reason is that the crowds attending rugby matches are very low compared to the football matches and parking can be contained within the grounds of the arena.
“We have not, therefore, issued any visitor permits for this season.
“The parking scheme will be enforced on any occasion when the anticipated number of spectators is likely to meet the necessary criteria to warrant the operation of the parking scheme.
“This would be for a large event such as an international rugby match or a concert.”
The residents parking scheme covered the streets closest to the stadium, including Neasham Road, Geneva Road and the surrounding areas.
One local resident, who lives within the affected area and asked not to be named, said: “I can understand why the council has decided to do this, but I hope it does not come back to haunt us residents.
“I know Mowden have got big plans for the arena and good luck to them.
“I am sure car parking requirements for the matches can be met by using the on-site facilities, but it will be interesting to see what happens if attendances go up sharply.”
The council said residents would be informed in advance of big events, so they know when to display their permits.
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