Car park costs are set to soar

PRICES are to rise at four car parks in central Ballymena and fees are to be introduced at one in Harryville which has long been free of charge.

The tariff changes are the result of the latest review of off-street parking charges by the Department for Regional Development which has seen DRD Minister Conor Murphy consider and approve the following changes to four parking facilities in the borough...

* Ballymoney Road, which currently costs just 30p for up to three hours, 60p for up to six hours and 90p all-day, will, instead, be charged at 20p per hour.

* Church Street (known locally as Coach Entry), which currently costs 30p per hour, will increase to 40p/hr.

* Broughshane Street (known locally as Garfield Place), which currently costs 40p/hr will increase to 50p/hr; and,

* The Town Centre Multi-Storey car park, which also currently costs 40p/hr, will rise to 50p/hr.

Perhaps the Minister’s biggest parking charge shocker for townspeople, however, is his approval of the introduction of charges at the main public car park in Harryville.

Previously free of charge, motorists will have, in the future, to fork out 20p per hour.

Long a popular choice for shop and business workers in Ballymena South, the car park’s new hourly fees could see them paying up to £8 to park their vehicle in the course of an average working week.

Details of the DRD review were contained in correspondence from Divisional Roads Manager Deidre Mackle presented to Ballymena Borough Councillors at their monthly meeting last night (Monday).

Ms Mackle pointed out in her letter that a number of key considerations had been used in setting the charges.

These included - “the need to influence where drivers park, allowing for higher turnover of short stay spaces and therefore an increase in the availability of short stay parking in support of the commercial viability of the town centre”.

Also, “the need to make efficient use of the existing car parking provision; the need for charges to reflect increased costs, eg rate bills, which are a major component of the cost of operating a pay car park; and the need to fully recover the cost of providing the car park services”.

She also pointed out that once the Order has been made, the Department will advertise a notice in the local press showing the changes in tariffs and the date on which they will come into effect.