Traders give refunds to help with parking costs

A NUMBER of traders in Ballycastle have been giving customers a 20p refund on their bills to cover the cost of one hour’s parking after charges were introduced at Ann Street Car Park in the town on July 4.

The car parking charges were introduced by Roads Service following a long consultation with Moyle District Council and other key stakeholders, including Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce.

The object of the new charges is to help ease congestion on Ann Street itself as well as make more car parking spaces available for people using the town centre. The rules regarding on-street parking on Ann Street have not changed and no charges apply.

Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce have welcomed the initiative as it is intended to make more spaces available for visitors, shoppers and people using the town centre as the number of spaces taken up by “all-day” parkers will be greatly reduced.

“Throughout the consultation, we worked hard with Roads Service and the Council to ensure that the minimum charge of 20p per hour was not exceeded as well as ensuring that parking is free in the evenings so that the night-time economy of the town is not affected,” a Chamber spokesperson advised.

“Many of our customers have been disappointed that the introduction of the new measures was not publicised better and many people simply didn’t know the charges had been introduced. Chamber members have been doing their best to warn their customers in the past two weeks and are also disappointed that information was not more widely available.

“Indeed, many of our members are helping to make the transition smoother by offering their customers a 20p refund on their bill to cover the cost of one hour’s parking.

“However, we believe that in the longer term, the public will see the benefits to the town centre in terms of less congestion and more parking. Indeed, while it is an extra charge, 20p per hour represents pretty good value for hassle-free parking in the town centre compared to lots of other towns.”