Extra spaces announced at clogged village Metro station

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EXTRA car parking is being created at a busy Metro station.

Work to put in the additional 13 spaces at East Boldon will cost of £25,000 and is part of a project by Nexus, which owns and manages the system, to modernise the service.

The project follows years of calls for an extension to the car park from businesses and residents who complained that passengers using the station were parking outside their properties.

Construction, which will start on Monday, will take around three weeks and see the number of spaces increase from 58 to 71.

Nexus has said a handful of existing spaces will be closed off temporarily to allow contractors to do the job.

Cycle lockers are being moved to a new location in the car park to make room for the new spaces and will themselves be upgraded later this year.

Tobyn Hughes, director of customer services at Nexus, said: “East Boldon is a popular local park-and-ride facility for people catching Metro to Sunderland and Newcastle city centre.

“Nexus is investing £25,000 to add extra spaces within the existing car park area following consultation with councillors and residents.

“We hope this project will help ease parking congestion on nearby streets, which has been a long-standing concern for local residents.

“We will continue to look for ways to expand car parking at the station in future, though options we have so far explored have not unfortunately proved viable at present.”

In 2007, delicatessen owner Peter Shaw said he was shutting his business, Longstaff’s, and moving to Sunderland because of the parking issues he said were created by the Metro station.

He said the lack of spaces in the area because of commuters’ cars affected his trade because it stopped customers reaching his shop.

Signs have been put up at the station and information posted online to warn station users about the work.

Among those to welcome the increase in spaces was Gordon Robson, who has owned his butcher’s shop for five years.

He said: “It’s not enough, but it’s a start in the right direction.

“People will still be parking on the streets to use the Metro, but at least they are doing something.”

He said he and neighbouring businesses would continue to lobby the authorities for more spaces to be created in the village.

East Boldon station was converted to Metro use in 2002, having previously been a stop on the national rail network.

Passenger numbers have risen to more than 700,000 a year since then with 10 trains an hour calling at the station, which Nexus said has led it to work with local councillors and residents to address concerns that some passengers park in local streets.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham