Parking charges agreed at tourist hotspots

Northern Ireland- 18th April 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  Parking fines to increase by 50% in Northern Ireland.  The maximum penalty for illegal street parking in Northern Ireland is set to increase from �60 to �90 and from �30 to �45 if the penalty is paid within 14 days. A traffic warden pictured on Linenhall Street in Belfast City Centre.
Northern Ireland- 18th April 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Parking fines to increase by 50% in Northern Ireland. The maximum penalty for illegal street parking in Northern Ireland is set to increase from �60 to �90 and from �30 to �45 if the penalty is paid within 14 days. A traffic warden pictured on Linenhall Street in Belfast City Centre.

Seasonal car parking charges are to be introduced at tourist hotspots around the north coast.

The measure was agreed at last night’s meeting of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

Parking charges to car parks will affect Ballintoy Harbour, Ballycastle Marina, part of Portballintrae Beach Road, Portrush Dunluce Avenue, Portrush Landsdowne, Portrush East Strand, Portrush West Strand and Portstewart Convention.

Ulster Unionist councillor Norman Hillis, who opposed the measure, said he was confident it would prove a mistake in the long term.

“This is an ill-thought-out plan which I have no doubt this is going to exacerbate problems with parking,” he said.

“Charging for parking in car parks will encourage people to park in residential areas instead which will mean local residents won’t be able to park outside their homes.

“It will have an effect on people going to work who also use these car parks and who will be facing charges every day which mount up.

“I believe this is a measure designed to fleece tourists.”

Mr Hillis disputes a figure of £400,000 per year which has been floated as the amount the council will earn through the new charges.

“I don’t think they will get anywhere near that amount,” he said.

“For a start, we have to pay for the installation of machines in these car parks and then we have to pay people to police parked cars and enforce fines.”

The measure passed by 22 votes to 11 at Tuesday evening’s meeting, with one abstention.