‘People are disgusted by this and many won’t bother coming back into the town’

Jordan's Mill car park.
Jordan's Mill car park.

The decision to close Jordan’s Mill car park will have a detrimental impact on footfall in Lisburn city centre, a local business owner has claimed.

The well-used car park shut down on Saturday, August 5, bringing an end to a long-running planning dispute concerning the Antrim Street site.

Expressing her anger at the closure of the car park, Diane Mackey, owner of Mackey’s Bakery on Antrim Street, said the move will hit her business and others in the area.

“It will impact business in the town; there is no doubt about it,” she said. “People are disgusted by this and many of them won’t bother coming back into the town. It’s not just me, it’s going to hit the whole town.

“If it goes back to the way it was the last time it was closed it will be between 15 and 20 per cent of a downturn, so that is a big chunk of my business.”

Arguing that the planning rules regarding car parks such as Jordan’s Mill need to be changed, Diane continued: “What is the point having Stormont and all these MLAs and paying them sixty odd thousand pounds a year for doing nothing? I am paying my rates here, but who is helping me?

“I know they want to redevelop this area, but there are six or seven vacant premises on my side of the street alone, so what’s the point in making more when they can’t fill what there is?”

Diane, who has run Mackey’s for the past 13 years, called on councillors and MLAs to do more to help local business owners and shopkeepers, particularly by making efforts to bring more people into the city.

Reacting to news of the car park’s closure, dozens of members of the public took to the Ulster Star’s Facebook page to express their disappointment and anger at the move, with several stressing that it would put them off shopping in the city centre.

• Read related story - City centre car park to shut this weekend