Poots calls for rethink over city’s on-street parking charges

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Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots has called for changes to on-street car parking rules in Lisburn that would allow motorists to park for the first 30 minutes for free.

The DUP man, who raised the issue in the Northern Ireland Assembly this week, said Lisburn, Belfast and Newry are the only major towns and cities in Northern Ireland where the first 30 minutes of on-street car parking isn’t free of charge.

Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots

Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots

While a DUP motion calling for changes to current parking policy, including a reduction of the £90 mandatory fine, was defeated, Mr Poots welcomed a commitment from Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard to carry out a review of on-street parking.

“I will be pressing for a meaningful review that seeks to provide equity with other significant towns and cities across Northern Ireland,” Mr Poots said.

“I fundamentally believe the current on-street car parking regime isn’t helping businesses or encouraging people to come into towns or cities as there is a fear factor that they could end up with a £90 parking fine

“It is important that these matters are addressed if town centres are to be competitive with the out of town (shopping) centres.”

Speaking after Monday’s debate, Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association Chief Executive Glyn Roberts commented: “It is vital that we make significant changes to car parking charges and fines to support the growth of our town centres and high streets.

“NIIRTA has called upon the Minister for Infrastructure to devolve on-street car parking to the 11 councils, giving them a greater role in shaping their town centres and high streets. This will be a central part of our submission to the review.”