Lisburn City Council has voiced its opposition to a move by the Department for Regional Development (DRD) to extend on-street pay and display parking to Longstone Street.
It was brought to the attention of the Council’s Planning Committee on Monday evening by way of letter asking for support following a review by Roads Service of on-street parking within the city.
Councillor Stephen Martin who works on Longstone Street said that while there is a need for greater parking in the area this proposal would have “significant consequences for the traders”.
He said: “I work in the area and I have never seen or heard of any issues with the parking. I don’t know what possessed the Roads Service to dream up the scheme but I know if implemented it will have a devastating impact on trade seriously inconveniencing those customers who remain. We don’t know what the unintended consequences of this will be. Time and again we hear of residents and visitors falling foul of pay and display parking. We need less of it - not more. Why would you pay to park when you can go out of town for free parking?”
Mr Martin intends to launch a cross-party petition in the coming days to “nip this in the bud” before it goes any further.
He said: “We are told repeatedly that Longstone Street does not come into the area designated as Lisburn City Centre. Is Sloan Street next? “This is plainly a money making exercise for Roads Service and it can’t be permitted to go through. I am delighted that Council supported my call to oppose this ill-thought out proposal.”
Jenny Palmer described Longstone Street as the “hub of retail in Lisburn at the moment” and said she totally rejected the proposal.
Alderman James Dillon described the proposal as a method of “bringing more revenue in”. He said: “They are jumping on the bandwagon.”
Councillor Thomas Beckett said he was against the proposal as “small businesses are suffering at the moment”.
Councillor Andrew Ewing said: “I would be strongly opposed to this proposal.”
Lisburn City Council agreed to write back to the DRD expressing its opposition to the proposed amendment.
A DRD spokesperson said: “Following the introduction of on-street pay and display parking within Lisburn City Centre, the Department has been asked to extend the scheme to include Longstone Street. We have asked Lisburn City Council for their views before any further consideration of this request. As yet we have not received a response.”