‘No leniency’ on parking fines in Carrick town centre

A Carrickfergus business owner has called on traffic attendants to exercise discretion when enforcing parking restrictions in the town.

High Street in Carrickfergis (file photo)  INCT 16-465-RM
High Street in Carrickfergis (file photo)  INCT 16-465-RM
High Street in Carrickfergis (file photo) INCT 16-465-RM

Kirsty Fallis, manager at Dobbins Inn hotel on High Street, suggested that several customers were left with a negative impression after being issued with a parking penalty.

Motorists are currently allowed to park on the route for no more than one hour during peak times (8am until 6pm).

“In July, two foreign visitors had their car ticketed between 8.27am and 8.32am. They were parked on double yellow lines, but we are sure they did not understand what these meant,” Kirsty said.

“Could (the traffic attendant) not have come in to Dobbins to check if they were staying with us, rather than have them leave Carrickfergus with this as their final impression of their stay here?”

Meanwhile, a group of elderly wheelchair users visited the hotel for a midweek lunch in June. “Their driver waited outside for a considerable time looking for a traffic warden, as his vehicle was parked directly outside. He joined the party for lunch and the manageress spoke with the traffic warden. She explained the situation, but was told that ‘they have an hour like anyone else’.

“We’ve been running the hotel for 37 years and we’re doing our best to promote Carrick; it’s not giving the right impression of the town.”

Motorists routinely flout parking restrictions in the area behind High Street known as the Back Lane, with no approach made by nearby traffic attendants, Ms Fallis claimed.

Responding to the comments, a DRD spokesperson said: “Traffic attendants do not have any discretion when carrying out their duties as this would lead to unfair and inconsistent enforcement. TAs are not required to enter premises to identify the owners of illegally parked vehicles.”

“It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure they are parked correctly and observe any parking restrictions that are in the street. There are concessions for Blue Badge holders to park on certain restrictions. Drivers are expected to familiarise themselves with the available concessions.

“If TAs detect vehicles parked in contravention of restrictions they are expected to carry out an observation period, five minutes for non-goods vehicles and 10 minutes for goods vehicles. The observation period enables them to confirm if loading or unloading is taking place; if no activity is observed then a Penalty Charge Notice may be issued.”