Parking charges are hitting hard

A LOCAL trader has hit out at the crippling effect of car parking charges on a local business.

The new charges came into force on July 4 in two car parks in Lurgan - Union Street and Edward Street.

“It’s having a serious impact on the business,” said Nigel Carson of McKerr Hardware, opposite the previously free car park in Union Street.

He continued: “I came back there after lunch on Monday and there were two cars in car park. Our figures these last few weeks are down.

“I know it’s holiday time, but there’s still been a decrease in trade which is directly related to the car parking charges that came into force on July 4.”

He added: “Quite a lot of customers are complaining about the traffic wardens. They’re taking no prisoners. They booked over 30 people last week.

“One gentleman who came in was irate. He got a ticket and didn’t know it was pay and display because there was a mini digger sitting in front of the sign.

“The signage is not that well highlighted. People who are used to using the car park aren’t aware of the change.”

Nigel commented: “The attendants are actively sitting in the car parking, watching and waiting to get people. Surely they should be doing their work around the rest of the town.

“Why Union Street and Edward Street and nowhere else? It’s having a serious impact on our business. Why are we having to suffer this and other areas have free parking?”

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has requested a meeting with Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy in response to issues that have been raised through her constituency office.

Mayor of Craigavon Cllr Carla Lockhart commented: “I have been inundated with people contacting me about DRD’s decision to charge car park users using the parking facility at Union Street.

“It was agreed at council recently that council lead a delegation to meet the DRD Minister and indeed a range of other ministers about issues affecting our town centres.

“This will provide an opportunity to inform Minister Kennedy of the very real impact it is having on businesses and indeed customers.

“This is a time for businesses, customers and politicians to really make their voice heard in this regard and how it is further eroding economic growth in our town centres.”