Roads Minister Danny Kennedy has been praised for his “common sense approach in suspending the town’s traffic wardens for the day” on Saturday, so that Country Comes to Town could run smoothly.
The Portadown Times understands that word came down from Mr Kennedy’s department in Stormont that no tickets should be handed out and no drivers penalised for parking anywhere in town.
As a result, business and political interests in town have called on Mr Kennedy to “show the same acumen throughout the year and help bring the town’s business life back to normal”.
Sydney Anderson MLA (DUP) who has been spearheading a “fair parking” campaign said, “I am delighted the Mr Kennedy took this eminently sensible step on Saturday. Country Comes to Town was an outstanding success, and I am glad that things were not spoiled by traffic wardens going on the prowl.
“Our party has tabled a rash of proposals to Mr Kennedy, mainly to do restricting the activities of the traffic wardens, charge reasonable rates in the pay parks – mainly Magowan Buildings – and use the barrier exit system. He added that he had been in touch with Mr Kennedy by letter, had received an acknowledgement and that a meeting was being set up to try and find a solution.
Adrian Farrell, President of Portadown Chamber of Commerce, agreed the Saturday’s move was “sensible and very welcome, and hopefully will lead to a re-evaluation of Portadown parking and that of other similar towns.”
He added, “Of course, there has to be structured car park, but the present policies are revenue orientated rather than for the benefit of motorists and of retailers.
“The redcoats are chasing trade out of town, and while this isn’t the only element in Portadown’s problems, parking requires to be totally reorganised. The town is well off for parking, but it is poorly used and co-ordinated.
“We believe that Magowan Buildings should be the main pay car park, but that a barrier system should be introduced - like the High Street Mall car park - so that drivers pay on exit and don’t have to worry about getting back to their car before their time is up. It would solve everything.”