Bradley secures debate on car parking in Newry City Centre
SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Dominic Bradley has secured an adjournment debate in the Assembly on the subject of car parking in Newry City Centre.
Speaking to Newry Times about the forthcoming debate Mr Bradley said, “Changes to car parking arrangements in Newry City Centre have been questioned by both traders and shoppers.
“The Department of Regional Development (DRD) has converted from kiosk operated to pay-and-display on the 7th January 2013 in Abbey Way, Canal Bank 1 and Canal Bank 2 Car Parks.
Bradley continued, “While the Roads Service says that this is project is common to all towns and aimed at delivering savings, this change will have a major detrimental impact on attracting shoppers into the City Centre shopping precinct areas of the Cathedral Quarter, Hill Street and Creamery Quarter, Monaghan Street.
“Many people believe that the change will be detrimental to shoppers who in all likelihood will spend less time in the city centre as a result of this change.
“At a time when town and city centres across the North have been decimated by the effects of the recession and face competition from the exponential growth in out of town retail developments government should be adopting policies which support trade in town and city centres.
Bradley believes that with prospect of new major developments, such as Tesco which is due to open a store on the Belfast Road in 2013, Newry City Centre traders will have to face competition from these developments who offer free parking.
“As well as having been badly affected by the recession traders have also come through some very challenging experiences whilst the first part of the new public realm scheme was under construction and are set for further disruption as part two commences in April 2013.
“The Traders are understandably angry that there was no consultation process held with stakeholders or the wider business community on this issue.
The SDLP MLA added, “Even at this stage there are some measures which could be adopted to mitigate the effects of the changes – top up kiosks in Hill Street and Monaghan Street would help ensure that shoppers could prolong their time in the city centre without the fear that they will face a parking fine.
“The debate in the Assembly will provide the opportunity to discuss the issues involved with the DRD Minister and to find a solution which is acceptable to all concerned.”
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