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Portadown motorists receive 500 times more parking tickets than nearby areas

Motorists in Portadown received almost 500 times the number of parking tickets as neighbouring towns and villages
John Monaghan

AN MLA has called for a "common sense approach" after it emerged motorists in Portadown are receiving a hugely disproportionate amount of parking tickets over neighbouring towns and villages.

More than 3,800 tickets were handed out to drivers in the Co Armagh town last year, which is in stark contrast to the mere eight handed out in both Tandragee and Gilford.

Portadown has a population of around 22,000 which is six time more than Tandragee and 15 higher than Gilford which has a population of 1,500.

In Banbridge, which has a population of 17,000, an estimated 1,300 motorists were issued with tickets while the total for Lurgan fell from 1,800 in 2014 to just over 1,500 last year.

The figures were released in response to an Assembly question from DUP Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart, who urged a "common sense approach" to parking in towns and villages.

Ms Lockhart, a former Mayor of Craigavon, said motorists were not happy as they always believed that parking attendants in the area were "over scrupulous".

"There has always been this issue in the Portadown/Lurgan area if people are a minute or two late. There needs to be a common sense approach.

"However, we have to consider the size of the towns and that would be a big factor. I really don't think we can compare the data."

Ms Lockhart added: "I know that in the past there has been free parking (in the run-up to Christmas). It is a good idea and we want to encourage people to shop locally."

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said that parking tickets "can only be issued where parking restrictions exist in sufficient quantity to merit providing the parking enforcement service."

Nearly 77,000 parking tickets were issued across Northern Ireland during 2015.

In April The Irish News revealed that drivers in Coalisland, Co Tyrone, have not received a single ticket from parking attendants for six years in a row.

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