£1.9m park and ride boost

Vacant land at Obins Street. INPT02-102gc
Vacant land at Obins Street. INPT02-102gc

Portadown Railway Station looks set to get a £1.9 million park and ride scheme, which will provide up to 200 free spaces for commuters.

Translink confirmed that the scheme, located on land in the Obins Street area, will be completed by late 2016.

The news has been welcomed by Portadown Chamber of Commerce, which has been pushing for a park and ride facility.

It should also alleviate the problem of motorists parking in nearby Obins Street and Park Road, which was proving a source of annoyance for residents and businesses.

President Adrian Farrell said, “I am delighted. It’s great news for the town and for commuters. It’s something we have been talking about for a number of years. Whenever the new station opened we urged minister Danny Kennedy to look at the park and ride option.”

Under the £4 million refurbishment of the station, a number of car parking spaces were lost, prompting fears that more commuters would be unable to find affordable car parking nearby.

Portadown solicitor Sean Hagan, who was one of the people to voice his concerns at the time, said he was “delighted to learn of the intention of Translink to provide a scheme for car parking in the immediate vicinity of the new train station”.

He added, “It is some years since I approached Translink to provide such a scheme. With proper marketing it should deliver a considerable increase in the usage of the railway link and Portadown.

“It is essential to ensure that the scheme is given every opportunity to succeed in view of the enhanced facilities at the station and the reasonable frequency and comfort of rail travel.”

Lurgan is also to get a park and ride scheme, with up to 70 spaces at Brownlow Terrace, which will be provided in 2015 at an approximate cost of £345,000.

A spokesperson for Translink said both schemes are at an early development stage and costs and timescales are approximate.

The developments for both towns came to light after Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly put a question to Minister Danny Kennedy, asking whether there were plans to review car parking provision at Lurgan and Portadown railway stations.