North Down Alliance representatives have called upon the Department for Regional Development to end on-going delays and give a clear timescale for the introduction of Town Centre Residents Parking Permits in Bangor and Holywood.
The Alliance Councillors have made their call after conducting a survey in Bangor and Holywood Town Centres which demonstrated strong support for Residents Parking Permits schemes in areas blighted with parking difficulties.
Commenting on the issue, Alliance Councillor Michael Bower stated "With 97% of respondents calling for a Residents Parking Scheme in their street the demand for action is clear.
Many residents we spoke to recalled the practical difficulties being encountered without a parking permits scheme such as being unable to park close to their home and having to carry shopping extremely long distances. This is unacceptable and preventable. With government now encouraging Town Centre living urgent action is required to address this issue."
Continuing, I remarked "I am often contacted by people residing in Holywood Town Centre concerned about the parking situation in places such Trevor Street, Downshire Road and Spencer Street puzzled why no scheme has yet been introduced to let them park near their home and querying how much the permits will cost.
Whilst a mixed response was received concerning how much the fee should be (47% of respondents willing to pay a fee, 14% up to £30, 22% £30 to £60 and 53% feeling that no charge should be made) the clear opinion of those surveyed indicates that discounted permits should be available for the elderly and those in receipt of benefits with 74% supporting such. The previously proposed fee of £80 would clearly be unacceptable in light of the survey findings".
Commenting on when the permits should apply, Alliance Councillor Christine Bower stated "Whilst 86% of respondents want the scheme to apply All Week 58% want it in operation 24 hours a day and remaining opinion split between 8am to 6pm and 8am to 10pm."
Continuing, Stephen Farry MLA remarked "Although no strong desire seems to exist for a second permit per household with 73% against it is, however, recognised that some system should be in place to cater for visitors whether this be a permit per property (58% in favour) or a token book (21% in favour). We have written to the Minister for Regional Development to pass on all of our findings and hope he will give them due consideration.".
Concluding, Cllr Michael Bower stated "Whilst I recognise that the issue is not simple and straightforward on-going delays dating back to 2008 are unacceptable. A clear basis for action exists based upon sound research. We have therefore written to the Minister calling for an end to the dither, delay and indecision and a confirmed timescale for action".