Lagan Valley MLA Trevor Lunn has hit back at criticism directed at him by DUP Cllr Luke Poots over his stance on the Jordan’s Mill car park issue.
Following the closure of the popular Antrim Street car park earlier this month, Cllr Poots, the chairman of the council’s Planning Committee, said he was “disappointed” that Mr Lunn had previously spoken against an application to keep it open.
But defending the position he took during the long-running planning dispute regarding the site, Mr Lunn stressed that there is already “more than adequate parking provision” in Lisburn city centre.
“This facility has never had open ended planning permission and Lisburn Council has taken enforcement action through the courts to have it closed in the past,” he said.
“Planning Service have consistently opposed it and the Planning Appeals Commission has agreed. TransportNI, previously Roads Service, have also opposed its continued operation.
“There is more than adequate parking provision across the city centre and Jordan’s has been granted numerous extensions on the promise of the owners bringing forward a proposal for mixed use development on the site.”
With the council having granted outline permission for the proposed commercial and residential project, Mr Lunn said: “We will see where it goes from here.”
Responding to claims that the closure of Jordan’s Mill car park could put people off shopping in the city centre, the Alliance MLA continued: “I frankly doubt if people will stop coming into Lisburn because of the loss of one car park when on any day of the week, including Saturday, surveys have shown well over a thousand unused spaces at peak times in the other parks, including those operated by the council at very cheap rates.”
He added: “It’s a bit rich for a DUP chair to criticise me when his own council group was split on the issue. The vote at the meeting in November at which I spoke was 5-3 in favour of keeping the facility open temporarily. Councillors Beckett and Mackin, both DUP, voted to close along with Councillor Girvin. Councillors Redpath, Anderson, Rice, Poots and Tollerton voted to keep it open. Alderman Dillon abstained and Councillor Catney was absent although present in the public gallery.”
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