Increase in on-street car parking charges will raise £750,000 for department
AN increase in charges for on-street car parking in three of the north's main shopping locations is expected to raise more than £750,000 for the Department of Infrastructure.
It was announced last week that charges for on-street parking in Belfast, Lisburn and Newry are to increase by 20p an hour from February 20.
The new hourly rate will be 60p in Newry, 80p in Lisburn and £1.20 in Belfast.
For those parking in streets on the edge of Belfast city centre, the rate will jump from the current 80p per hour to £1.20.
In response to a written Assembly question from SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty, Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said: "My department estimates that additional revenue of £755k per year will be generated from the increase in charges for on-street parking."
Announcing the increase, Mr Hazzard said: "On-street parking tariffs in Belfast have not increased since 2011 and have therefore not kept pace with inflation. Similarly, tariffs in Newry and Lisburn have not increased since 2009 and 2008."
In a joint statement, the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, Hospitality Ulster and the three chambers of commerce in Belfast, Lisburn and Newry, said they would be lobbying to reverse the "unfair and unnecessary" hikes.
It said: "Our organisations represent many thousands of businesses in the three cities. We are disappointed that the minister made this decision without any consultation with our members.
"The only winners from this hike are the big out of town superstores with their unfair competitive advantage of free car parking and no over zealous traffic attendants."
The minister also announced that a list of towns in Transport NI's southern division, as well as Coalisland, will no longer have parking attendants because fewer than 10 penalties have been issued on average per month.