PORTADOWN Chamber of Commerce have vowed to continue the battle to improve the parking situation in the town, despite admitting defeat in the battle to prevent charging at three of Portadown’s free car parks.
President Adrian Farrell issued the call following a meeting with Department of Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy on Monday.
Mr Farrell, who attended Stormont along with colleagues from Banbridge Chamber of Commerce, was encouraged by much of the meeting but admitted the charges at Magowan Buildings One, West Street and William Street car parking were probably now inevitable.
The DRD is attempting to raise much-needed revenue by introducing charges at a host of previously free car parks across Northern Ireland.
Mr Farrell said, “I was encouraged by the meeting and by a lot of what was said. The Minister gave us a good audience and listened carefully to what we had to say about car parking charges and about their impact on town centres.
“Ourselves and Banbridge were singing off the same hymn sheet, they too have car parks where charges are going to be introduced. At this minute I would have to admit that we will see see charges introduced at the three car parks. It looks like it will happen even though there was plenty of pressure put on the Minister with this regard.”
Mr Farrell has been a critic of the decision to introduce a pay and display system at Magowan Buildings in April. He made this point to the Minister and called for a re-think, suggesting that the DRD instead adopt the charging method used at Craigavon Hospital, where patients pay for their tickets in a machine before returning to their cars.
“The system used at Craigavon Hospital would be much better than the pay and display as it currently stands.
“People would not need to be rushing back to their cars and away from the shops because they wouldn’t be worrying about getting a ticket,” he added.
“Mr Kennedy took on board our concerns, I was very pleased with the response we got. We will keep applying the pressure on this very important issue.”
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