Northern Ireland news

Residents association in south Belfast claims parking schemes ‘will go nowhere'

Brid Ruddy said College Park Avenue Residents Association has been campaigning for residents'-only parking for a decade. Picture by Hugh Russell
John Monaghan

RESIDENTS in south Belfast who have lobbied for a parking scheme for a decade have hit out at the process for approving projects.

Brid Ruddy, chair of College Park Residents Association, was responding after infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard said his department is "currently developing" schemes in Belfast, Derry and Antrim.

He said none had been implemented to date "due largely to a lack of local support from residents concerned".

Ms Ruddy claimed that any new proposals are also "going to go nowhere".

"Somebody from Bangor can vote and say that they don't like it," she said.

"We can't understand what the blockage is. There are schemes in England and Dublin and they can get past with 50% support or less."

In a letter in July explaining why the College Park scheme had not progressed, a senior departmental official said there had been 11 objections.

"Depending on the nature of an objection it could possibly cause officials to abandon a scheme... I should clarify that no decision has been taken to abandon any residents' parking scheme in Belfast at this time."

Jim Smyth, secretary of the association, described the situation as "farcical" and said the group was considering mounting a legal challenge.

Conor Doyle, secretary of the Lower Malone Residents Association, also said: "Roads Service even got as far as presenting us maps showing where the parking bays, signs, and pay and display machines would be.

"However, it appears that a small number of objections, mainly from people who live outside the area, has brought the process to a standstill."

Alliance South Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw said residents will be "sceptical" of the minister's comments.

She said: "Successive ministers have promised action but none has materialised, leaving south Belfast streets operating as free car parks.

"Residents' parking schemes are common across these islands and, despite residents' best efforts, not one has yet been delivered in Northern Ireland."

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