Parking double whammy

Portadown has made it into the list of the 15 most ticketed towns in Northern Ireland, as well as topping the list in the council area for car park fines.

The figures, published by the Department for Infrastructure (DFI), list the town at number eight with 2,438 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) in 2016 for on-street parking. This is an increase on the previous year’s total of 2,006.

Gilford had only five PCNs issued, one more than the previous year, Tandragee dropped from nine PCNs issued in 2015 to none in 2016 and Markethill increased their tally from five to eight in 2016.

Armagh was two places ahead of Portadown at number six with 2,747 charges issued, up from 2,567 in 2015, with Lurgan notching up 1,164 charges, up from 1,042 in 2015.

Banbridge also experienced an increase in the number of tickets issued, rising from 710 (2015) to 964 in 2016 while Richhill dropped from two to zero.

Across Northern Ireland’s high streets, parking fines rose by 11 per cent in one year - potentially worth up to £13m in revenue.

When it came to car parks, which the department operates on behalf of councils, the number of penalties in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon council area rose from 3,862 in 2015 to 4,441 in 2016, with Portadown leading the field.

Its fines increased from 1,719 in 2015 to 1,989 in 2016 while Lurgan saw a slight reduction from 541 in 2015 to 515 in 2016. Armagh increased from 843 (2015) to 1,147 (2016) as did Banbridge from 659 (in 2015) to 783 (in 2016).

Adrian Farrell, president of Portadown Chamber of Commerce, said it was a “massive concern” to the chamber that the town was so high on the list, “considering the pressures that hard-pressed retailers are under”.