Portadown Chamber of Commerce will continue to lobby to make the current ‘£1 for five hours’ parking scheme permanent.
The pilot scheme began in April in Magowan, Castle Street and Meadow Lane car parks, and is scheduled to run for six months.
It is being advertised by the chamber through a billboard campaign, and follows on from the successful pilot which took place in the town over Christmas.
Welcoming the boost the scheme has already provided, Chamber president Adrian Farrell said, “We want to encourage visitors to stay longer in town, visiting the wide variety of shops without the fear factor of having to rush back to their vehicles when their ticket expires.
“We will continue to lobby to make this scheme a permanent feature.”
Mr Farrell said members at the last two chamber meetings had reported an improvement in trading since Easter. “People are spending more time in the town,” he said.
Department of Regional Development (DRD) Minister Danny Kennedy MLA said one of the key reasons for extending the scheme was to help boost local traders who have suffered as a result of the challenging economic climate.
He added, “Portadown Chamber of Commerce have really embraced the scheme and gone to great lengths to advertise it to the local community.
“I welcome their response and am confident that together with all their hard work, this initiative will encourage more people into this great shopping town.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson said the car parking scheme was an excellent example of “a Minister who is not only listening to the views of local businesses and shoppers but is taking action”.
She said, “The pilot scheme is helping to support local retailers as well as the economy and it is fantastic that the members of the Portadown Chamber are full square behind it and are promoting the town centre and I look forward to continuing to work alongside them.
“I know from chatting with shoppers in the town that the ‘£1 for 5 hours’ scheme was warmly welcomed at Christmastime and I am delighted to see the extended pilot continuing to deliver benefits for local traders and shoppers.”
The six-month pilot scheme is being run across 93 car parks in 25 towns across Northern Ireland, that have a tariff of 30p or more per hour. and follows an initial trial over Christmas and New Year.
Mr Kennedy said the extended project will inform his department’s future policy.