Organisers begin to plan traffic management for Regatta

Tall ships that will be sailing into Blyth for the Regatta this summer. Picture by Sail Training International.

Tall ships that will be sailing into Blyth for the Regatta this summer. Picture by Sail Training International.

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Residents and businesses in Blyth are being informed how traffic management for the Tall Ships Regatta could affect them.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected at the regatta, being hosted by Northumberland County Council in partnership with the Port of Blyth and Sail Training International over the August Bank Holiday – August 26 to 29.

A traffic plan is being produced which will see visitors to the event – sponsored by Fergusons of Blyth – being directed to park and ride areas outside the town to minimise any potential congestion in the town and on the county’s link roads during the regatta weekend.

Over the next few weeks, letters are being sent to residents and businesses across Blyth to keep them informed of the plans, which include temporary road closures, a one-way system, parking restrictions and parking permits during the event.

However, emergency access will be maintained at all times, including to the hospital and GP services.

Local ward councillor, Eileen Cartie, said: “An event of this scale will be a great boost for not just Blyth but the county as a whole and we are working with our partners to make sure that it is a success for everyone.

“We hope local residents and businesses will enjoy having such a prestigious and exciting event on their doorstep.

“A comprehensive traffic management plan will be put in place to ensure safety and we are working closely with residents, businesses and community groups who may be affected.

“We aim to keep disruption to a minimum, but safety has to be our priority, and we are contacting people over the next few weeks to let them know about the plan and how they can get further information.”

By the end of May, all properties in Blyth will have received a letter and information about traffic management for the event. This information will be sent again to all properties in the town approximately two weeks before the event and published on the Tall Ships website.

The organisers will continue to keep residents and visitors updated and information will also be available on the Tall Ships Facebook page and Twitter account.

A Tall Ships Information Centre will open in the council’s former customer service centre in the Keel Row Centre, Blyth, from June onwards to enable residents and businesses to discuss arrangements for the event and answer any questions.

Coun Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, said: “We are working closely with all of our partners on the preparations for what is going to be a large international event which is expected to attract high numbers of visitors to the town and port area.

“Traffic management is an essential part of our event planning and we will be emphasising to visitors that they should use public transport to get to Blyth wherever possible or to use the park and ride facilities if they are coming by car.”

Up to 30 Tall Ships are expected and the event will feature five zones of free family fun and entertainment.

Visitors and residents will be able to get details about travel and parking arrangements nearer the time of the event on the website www.tallshipsblyth2016.com and on Twitter @TallShipsBlyth and the Tall Ships Blyth 2016 Facebook page, and also on local radio during the event.

For further information on Sail Training International, visit www.sailtraininginternational.org