A plan to install brown tourist signs highlighting Alston as a visitor attraction has won the backing of parish councillors.
Gina Perryman, secretary of Alston Moor Business Association, said brown tourist signs had been something they had been considering for some time.
Typically these were used for attractions like South Tynedale Railway, which has brown signs with little pictures of trains dotted around, including one at Kemplay Bank roundabout in Penrith, but what was being proposed was a generic sign, encouraging visitors to come to Alston town centre, parish councillors were told.
“Anecdotally, we have thought for a while there is an issue with people that go to Hartside summit, up from Penrith, on the A686.
“They look at the lovely views, and when the cafe was there they used to go and get a coffee and a cake, and then turn around and go back down the hill to Penrith.
“So, one of the areas we are thinking it would be good to try and get one installed is on the approach to Hartside summit,” said Ms Perryman.
According to the guidance supplied by Cumbria County Council, a brown sign for the town of Alston could be facilitated through a rural community signing application, but this would need to be driven by the parish council, the meeting was told.
It was also hoped that another brown sign could be added to a signpost which at the moment just says “town centre left” near an approach to Alston from the A686.
“There are no brown stickers or anything on there that would indicate that the town centre is of any interest,” she said.
The meeting was told the cost could be about £1,500 and there were funders which could be approached in order to get pockets of funding from different bodies.
Alan Green, who chaired the meeting, said that it sounded like a good idea and Elaine Grew agreed that it was a project which should be supported by the parish council.
She said as a result of the COVID pandemic a lot of the town’s shops have been shut and further disruption is likely to be caused when the setts are put down on Front Street, which will mean it will have to be shut for a while.
“I think signage can’t but help to try and drag people into Alston rather than them either going to Penrith, Hexham or even the Lake District and bypassing us.
“I’m all for it and I think as a council it is something we should be supporting for our community,” said Ms Grew.
Chris Harrison said he was in total agreement and added that he thought there should be a sign at Junction 40 of the M6 to say “scenic route to the North East”, which would take motorists through Alston to get more traffic to pass through the town.