Town car parks should cater for young families

A photo of the space in which one local man parked on Saturday in order to lift his child's car seat out of his vehicle.
A photo of the space in which one local man parked on Saturday in order to lift his child's car seat out of his vehicle.
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Calls have been made for more family parking spaces in the town after a local father was fined at the weekend.

The issue was raised after one local man was issued a ticket after parking in the Meadow Lane West car park on Saturday. The young father parked his car at the top of the car park to make sure he had enough room to open the back door of his car to lift out his child’s car seat.

“We were in the town centre on Saturday - myself, my wife and our child,” explained the local man. “We parked at Meadow Lane but there’s no facility for family parking.”

He admitted that his car had been parked over the white line, but that it was solely out of necessity:

“I parked over the white line because I wouldn’t have had room to lift the child out of the car seat, otherwise. I have a sticker on the car that says, ‘Baby on Board’: all I’m asking for is a bit of common sense to be used when parking tickets are issued. With there being no parking bays for mums and dads with prams, I didn’t expect to get a ticket - and wish to contest it.

“There needs to be sufficient parking for mums and dads or parents will take their money out of the town and over to Rushmere, where parents’ needs are catered for.”

The car park at Meadow Lane West is owned by the Council, having been one of 51 off-street car parks transferred from DRD Roads Service last April. It is understood that none of the car parks owned and managed by the Council across the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough contain family spaces.

A Council spokesperson responded to the incident, suggesting that it would be too difficult to amend parking bays across the borough to accommodate parent and toddlers: “Car park bays which have a special designation are those provided for blue badge holders and those with e-car points, provided for charging electric cars.

“The Meadow Lane West car park is particularly popular, with spaces very much in demand. Car park rules clearly state that cars must be parked within bays.”