Row continues over free parking in city

The Bow Street building. US1542-527cd  Picture: Cliff Donaldson
The Bow Street building. US1542-527cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

A free parking initiative would have been ‘invaluable’ to local traders, Lisburn Chamber of Commerce President Stephen Houston said as he voiced his frustration at a lack of agreement on the issue.

Mr Houston said, “Lisburn city centre traders are competing with Belfast and other provincial towns as well as the out-of-town shopping centres.

“A free parking promotion would have been invaluable in helping to drum up more shoppers into Lisburn.

“Retailing in particular has had a rough time in our city centre, especially having had to cope with the extensive Public Realm works and our members have expressed their frustration at this latest decision by Lisburn and Castlereagh Council.”

The Chamber President called for better consultation with city centre businesses well in advance of Christmas next year.

He said the Chamber of Commerce would be playing an active role regarding what he described as an ‘important issue’ for 2016.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council failed to reach an agreement over free parking in the run up to Christmas during a specially convened meeting. Councillors voted down a proposal to extend free off-street parking on Saturdays in December.

The proposal was narrowly defeated after it was proposed by Alderman James Tinsley and seconded by councillor Allan Ewart. It was one of three options up for consideration.

The other proposals were to waive all off-street parking charges in December or keep the current five hours parking for £1 with Sunday and evenings (after 6pm) free.