‘Parking chaos is killing village’

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ROADS Service has confirmed that it is considering introducing a range of measures to help tackle parking problems in Whiteabbey village.

The move comes after local business owners, residents and political representatives complained about ‘all day parkers’ taking up on-street parking and spaces in the free car park.

Following a meeting with DRD Roads officials last month, Alliance councillor Billy Webb said he has received an assurance that the parking chaos in the village will be dealt with.

“For some time the shopkeepers in Whiteabbey have suffered a loss of business as commuters into Belfast and students at the University of Ulster have been parking in the main street (Shore Road), leaving no spaces for shoppers. The work at Loughshore Park has made the problem worse, as students and staff had been avoiding parking charges at the university by parking there, but since the Loughshore car park has been temporarily closed they are parking in the village,” he said.

“The two-hour waiting restriction area in the village will be extended along one entire side of the road and the other will have a double yellow line. The DRD have agreed to consult with traders with a view to apply the same restrictions as exist throughout the village.

“The DRD is also planning to introduce a low hourly rate of 20p per hour for parking in the main car park. They say it is a very effective mechanism of encouraging turnover of spaces and will deter long-stay parking. This hopefully will help those wishing to visit or shop in Whiteabbey,” the Alliance representative added.

Sharon Campbell-Blair, owner of Randalph’s coffee shop, welcomed the department’s commitment to deal with the parking problem, but stressed that a two or three hour maximum waiting time should be introduced in the village car park, not a token parking charge.

“If people can’t get parked they just drive on and go somewhere else, like Carrick. Since the car park at Loughshore Park has been closed the situation has been diabolical - it’s killing the village.

“Introducing a small charge for parking would be no deterrent to people leaving their cars all day, it would just put people off from stopping in the village to shop or come in for a cup of coffee. They wouldn’t pay the additional charge, they’d just go somewhere else,” she commented.

A spokesperson for Roads Service confirmed that the department is currently consulting with local business owners and householders on a range of possible parking restrictions for the area, but pointed out that no final decisions have yet been made.

“Currently Roads Service are consulting and liaising with traders and residents who received letters advising of proposals to extend limited waiting restrictions in mid December. We would encourage as many people to respond to Roads Service as possible and look forward to receiving their views and once gathered we will consider their responses,” she commented.