£1 parking pilot scheme retained by the council

A parking attendant in action in the Magowan West Carpark. INPT16-226.

A parking attendant in action in the Magowan West Carpark. INPT16-226.

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A pilot scheme which allowed motorists to park for five hours in Portadown’s off-street car parks is to become permanent.

The ‘£1 for 5 hours’ scheme, which was first introduced by the DRD, will be retained in each of the five off-street car parks in the town. The scheme applies to Magowan Buildings, Meadow Lane West, West St, William St and Marley St.

The creation of ‘super councils’ in the recent local government reform saw a number of responsibilities and services being shared or adopted. Prior to April 2015, off-street parking was overseen by DRD, and it was they who had the authority to make changes to certain tariffs.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council took ownership of the town’s car parks in April, and is now responsible for setting tariffs as well as the upkeep of the areas.

A statement from the ABC Council explained the tariffs, “The £1 for five hours had been introduced by the Minister for Regional Development as a pilot scheme and council will be giving consideration to publishing an administrative order to formally notify the public of its intentions.

“Users of the car parks are asked to note that, unless payment is made for the five hours, the normal car park tariff of 30p per three hours or 40p per hour - depending on the car park - will be charged.”

Customers using these off-street car parks are advised that, while paying £1 ensures their car is legally parked for up to five hours, it is not possible to park for any length of time which exceeds those five hours. Therefore, if a customer places more than £1 into the machine, the meter automatically returns to the hourly rate, and will not issue a ticket for a longer period of time.”

The council assured members of the public that the town’s free car parks would retain their current status.

“There are no plans at this stage to change the status of the existing off-street car parks which are free to park in,” said the statement.

The scheme applies to car parks across the ABC area, including Lurgan and Banbridge.