Fury over 200% increase in car park charges

LOCAL representatives have highlighted concerns about a huge increase in off street parking in areas of Lisburn.

Assembly Members Paul Givan and Edwin Poots along with Downshire Councillor Paul Stewart spoke of their concerns after a 200 per cent increase in tariff was introduced in the car park located opposite the Island Centre.

Mr Givan explained: “This information was brought to my attention at the beginning of last week when this tariff increase was implemented. It was clear that when members of the public proceeded to park on the Monday, they were unaware of any new parking charges until viewing the pay and display machine. What is also disturbing is that drivers in Lisburn already have greater on-street parking charges imposed in contrast to those in Newry. While the charge for parking for a 15 minute period in Lisburn is 15p, the same parking period in Newry will cost 10p. In times of economic downturn, we want to encourage shoppers to come to Lisburn but I would urge Regional Development Minister, Danny Kennedy, to reverse this decision to discriminate between Lisburn and Newry.”

Mr Poots aired concerns this latest development would have a detrimental effect on the ability of shoppers to Lisburn city centre to park for prolonged periods.

He commented, “I believe the recent changes to the parking charges at Queens Road will impact on the number of potential shoppers wishing to avail of an affordable all day parking facility.

“It is immediately evident that the number of drivers making use of this facility has decreased and this is deeply concerning for the local economy. I agree with Mr Givan and one may pose the question why the second largest city in Northern Ireland, Londonderry, does not have parking charges when it has a greater population.”Mr Stewart reiterated the views of his colleagues saying: “A rise of 200 per cent in the cost of parking for 7-8 hours is a step too far. Whilst I accept that off-street parking in the centre of Lisburn costs drivers more, I do not believe this specific car park warrants such charges being implemented.

“I am also deeply concerned of the increase in parking charges in Hillsborough village. Rural villages are fighting to survive in the current economic climate and I am disappointed that the Department for Regional Development felt the need to impose this on struggling rural villages.”

The maximum charge prior to the change was 90p for 24 hours of parking but this has increased to £2.70 for any period over 8 hours.