In a social media statement in the early hours of this morning DUP Alderman John Finlay has strongly defended Council plans to introduce parking charges in car parks in towns such as Portrush and Portstewart.
Alderman Finlay said,
“For some years now, monies raised from charges levied on car parks in Coleraine, Ballymoney and Limavady have helped to maintain all the Borough’s car parks and also to keep the Council’s district rate as low as possible. Causeway Coast and Glens is the only Council to freeze rates this year and, I believe, the only Council in Northern Ireland ever to have struck a zero rate rise three years in a row. That has to be good for homeowners and businesses alike.
As with all infrastructure, car parks require investment, and in the last two years Council has spent £200k in maintenance with plans for a further £300k this year. The decision to introduce charges in car parks in Portrush and Portstewart has not been taken lightly, but it was carried with support from across six political parties following extensive consultation, consideration and debate.
It seems unfair that people visiting towns such as Coleraine and Ballymoney have to pay, whereas those visiting Portrush and Portstewart do not. This creates an imbalance which gives one town a competitive advantage over another.
The charges in Portrush and Portstewart will be seasonal and will only be for the summer period from Easter to the end of September. In addition, Sunday charges will be restricted to 1pm-6pm to facilitate church goers. The rate of 40p per hour or a cap of £2 per day does not seem extortionate. Furthermore, the new arrangements will be reviewed in October in order to assess their impact.
I feel strongly that the financial burden of maintaining the Borough’s car parks must be more evenly shared by all the towns, and this new arrangement will help to secure greater equity”.