Chamber and Times join forces in parking campaign

Alistair Bushe, regional editor of the Portadown Times, meets Chamber of Commerce president Adrian Farrell.  INPT0315-419
Alistair Bushe, regional editor of the Portadown Times, meets Chamber of Commerce president Adrian Farrell. INPT0315-419
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Portadown Chamber of Commerce and the Portadown Times have joined forces to call for a coordinated parking strategy in the town centre.

The responsibility for off-street parking moves to the new ABC Council in April and we want to see an end to the strategy that has seen some motorists and businesses harshly dealt with.

Portadown Chamber of Commerce President Adrian Farrell wants the new council to “use their new car parking powers purely for the benefit of the town and not as a money-making exercise”.

Mr Farrell added that valuable lesson were learned over Christmas with free parking days, with the ‘five hours for £1’ promotion and other schemes that saw trade in the town increase for the first Yuletide season for a number of years.

He went on, “If the council retains the wardens, the system must be used with common sense being the main criterion. To be fair, the wardens have, in the main, shown common sense. But there have been ticketing incidents that have been difficult to understand.”

Several have been reported in the Portadown Times – a 91-year-old woman whose Blue Badge was upside down; a Meadow Lane businessman whose van was parked partly into his own driveway, but not far enough according to the law; a teacher who parked in an empty Marley Street car park but was a few inches into the neighbouring bay; a trader in Woodhouse Street given 18 tickets over a number of months…

“This is the sort of thing which Portadown doesn’t need,” said Mr Farrell. “Of course, there can’t be a free-for-all. Portadown is really well off for car parks, ranging from free all-day to the £1 for five hours, the High Street Mall deals, free at the Meadows Centre and so on.

“These assets must be used for the free flow of traffic and for the good of trade. And if there is blatant double-yellow-line parking holding up traffic, wardens should swoop then. The free Saturday in December was a tremendous success and the Chamber would like to see that extended to all Saturdays in December next year. We have other dates that we could also consider.”

Robert Smith – a member of Craigavon Council and the ABC ‘shadow’ group - said, “It will be a couple of years before we are given full powers on parking, and High Street traders can be assured we will work on their behalf. Portadown is particularly well off for the full range of parking and we will discuss the best way forward with traders and with the Chamber of Commerce.”

If you feel you have been harshly dealt with over a parking ticket contact us on 028 38 395560 or email news@portadowntimes.co.uk