Northern Ireland news

42 towns in north set to lose parking wardens

Dozens of towns will no longer have regular patrols by parking wardens under the plans. Picture by Hugh Russell
Brendan Hughes

THESE are the dozens of towns across the north set to no longer have regular patrols by traffic wardens.

Under new Stormont plans, areas with fewer than 10 parking tickets issued on average per month will be removed from the schedule for routine visits.

A review of Transport NI's southern division has already led to seven towns being removed from the list – Dromore, Rathfriland, Gilford, Tandragee, Crossgar, Richill and Dunmurry.

The plan is now being extended to the northern, western and eastern divisions with the same criteria being applied.

According to the most recent annual figures on parking tickets issued, it means more than 40 areas look set to be removed from regular patrols.

They include Lisnaskea in Co Fermanagh, Maghera in Co Derry and Fivemiletown and Moy in Co Tyrone.

The review is examining the number of parking tickets or Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued, and the number of Vehicle Drive Aways (VDAs) recorded.

Announcing the move last week, Sinn Féin infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard insisted his priority is to "ensure the free flow of traffic".

"Any town that was routinely enforced and generated less than 10 PCNs/VDAs on average per month will be removed from the schedule for routine traffic attendant deployment," he said.

"The department will continue to visit all towns, including those removed from regular deployment, when need arises or when requested and resources are available."

On the same day Mr Hazzard announced he was increasing on-street parking tariffs in Belfast, Newry and Lisburn.

Charges will increase by 20p an hour in Belfast city centre, Newry and Lisburn, and by 40p an hour in several streets on the edge of central Belfast.

Traders hit out at the price hike, which takes effect from February 20, but Mr Hazzard said fees had "not kept pace with inflation" in recent years.

The DUP's Maurice Morrow claimed the increases were "no coincidence, given the minister is pulling traffic attendants out of a number of areas".

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA also warned that other areas could be "over-patrolled" following the decision.

"The books must continue to balance and the increase in loss of deployment to some areas has to be recouped elsewhere," he said.

Mr Morrow has also hit out at Mr Hazzard's decision to remove traffic wardens from Coalisland in Co Tyrone.

The minister said wardens would not be routinely deployed after a three-visit trial between August and December led to two warning notices.

Parking attendants had asked for a police escort for Coalisland visits after complaining of being subjected to verbal abuse.

Mr Hazzard said the town would not have wardens routinely "on the basis of efficient and effective use of resources".

But Mr Morrow claimed the move was "a politically-motivated decision" ahead of an election.

 

Areas set to have regular patrols removed, and tickets issued in 2015

Ahoghill – 4 tickets

Aldergrove airport – 5

Aughnacloy – 3

Ballykelly – 1

Broughshane – 8

Bushmills – 83

Castlederg – 18

Castlewellan – 3

Clogher – 76

Comber – 30

Crossgar – 26

Crumlin – 50

Donaghadee – 32

Donaghmore – 10

Dromore, Co Down – 118

Dromore, Co Tyrone – 1

Dunmurry – 113

Fivemiletown – 39

Garvagh – 3

Giant's Causeway – 38

Gilford – 4

Irvinestown – 72

Keady – 58

Kesh – 1

Kilkeel – 70

Kilrea – 60

Lisnaskea – 39

Maghera – 103

Markethill – 5

Millisle – 4

Moy – 52

Newtownstewart – 2

Portaferry – 1

Portballintrea – 2

Portglenone – 5

Randalstown – 104

Rathfriland – 16

Richhill – 2

Saintfield – 76

Tandragee – 9

Toome – 1

Whitehead – 7

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