Traders welcome car parking manoeuvre

Ballyclare traders have said a bid to introduce free car parking could provide a boost to the numbers of people shopping in the town.

The Chamber of Trade has made a series of requests to the council for a number of parking measures to be introduced around the town.

They have asked for controlled free parking to be introduced in The Square as well as parking to be provided in the Council Yard at Sixmile Water Park.

They have also requested the council make no changes to the free parking provided in Sixmile leisure centre.

The chamber has asked the council support them in their attempt to introduce one-hour on-street parking throughout the town and for yellow lines to be provided along Granges Entry to prevent traffic disruption.

The requests follow on from a successful trial of free weekend parking in The Square during March.

The council said the initiative was well received and people said they entered the town to shop because they knew the parking was free.

The car park is owned by the council, however, it is leased to the Roads Service which received a fee of £442 to dispense with parking charges during the weekends in March.

At this month’s Development Committee meeting, councillors approved a recommendation to lobby the Roads Service for the chamber’s requests and investigate the possibility of providing free parking in The Square with enforcement to prevent all-day parking as well as a facility in Sixmile Water Park.

Ballyclare Chamber of Trade vice-president David Reade welcomed the move.

He said: “We are analysing the data from the free parking to get a full picture of how it went, but anecdotally people said it went very well and felt it was a great success.

“Free parking in The Square would provide a boost to the town’s business and we are looking at examining ways of bringing it in, possibly with a block on it to prevent commuters using it all day.”