Portadown Chamber of Commerce have asked DRD Minister Danny Kennedy and his assistant Jo-Anne Dobson MLA to reduce all car parking in Portadown to 30p for three hours – as is the case at the William Street and West Street enclave car parks.
Said Chamber president Adrian Farrell, “We discussed the issue at length during our monthly meeting on Monday night, and we want the lesser charges introduced in the main charge park – like Magowan Buildings, Bridge Street and Meadow Lane.
“At the moment, the 40p per hour at the main parks is exacerbating the situation in Portadown, where the High Street is suffering, although we have to say there are encouraging signs of things improving in the town centre.
“The 40p charge is making people extremely anxious to get back to their cars before the wardens strike, and we also feel that the wardens are moving in too fast, without any obvious training in customer care.”
Said Chamber secretary Tony Fearon, “If customers have three hours for 30p, it removes the anxiety and the shops will benefit. Portadown is really well off for parking – much of it free – but there have to be reasonable charges for a satisfactory turn-over of shopping.
“You only have to look at the Magowan car park at any stage and it is invariably half-empty. Lowering the charges would attract more cars and shoppers.”
Other issues discussed at the meeting, which was at Bannview B&B’s new conference suite at Meadow Lane, included the issue of rates, which the Chamber raised with Mrs Dobson when they met last night (Thursday). “They really are a killer in the current economic climate,” said Mr Fearon.
He added, “We are making these proposals for a temporary, trial period, to help Portadown recover. The town has the potential which must be tapped.”
Mr Farrell added that both Mr Kennedy and Mrs Dobson were considering the proposals. “These are sensible proposals which would really help the town,” he said. “We believe that all charges should be equalised at 30p. William Street and the West Street enclave are proving successful.”