Northern Ireland news

Police warn 'enforcement action' will be taken over parking issues at Bloody Bridge

The PSNI issued a number of tickets for traffic offences in the area of the Bloody Bridge in Newcastle at the weekend
Marie Louise McConville

POLICE have warned visitors to the Mournes in Co Down that "enforcement action" will be taken in relation to any parking violations.

The warning came after officers issued a number of tickets for traffic offences in the area of the Bloody Bridge in Newcastle at the weekend.

The picturesque area outside the seaside town draws visitors and Mourne hill walkers all year round.

However, when the council-owned car park is full, drivers park along the nearby Kilkeel Road, effectively reducing it to one lane.

Many parking in the area will be climbing Slieve Donard meaning their cars will be left for several hours.

In addition, traffic on the main Newcastle to Kilkeel road faces a major diversion if the Bloody Bridge is inaccessible. The only alternative route involves travelling via Castlewellan and Hilltown, adding more than 30 miles to the journey.

On several occasions, residents living in the area have vented their frustration on social media amid claims the parked cars hamper their efforts to get out of their driveways, and also block pedestrian access, particularly for those with prams.

Residents have repeatedly called for additional parking to be made available in the area in a bid to reduce congestion and make the area safer.

There have also been calls for double yellow lines to deter the on-road parking and for a nearby field to be used as an overspill car park.

One driver who contacted The Irish News yesterday said the area was "gridlocked" on Saturday.

"There is one public car park but it is far too small and always packed out," he said.

"A private car park has opened nearby but people park on the road to avoid the £5 charge. This means at best, single lane traffic on a very busy route and leaves it almost impossible for buses and lorries to use."

The motorist noted that parking was worse on Saturday when no cones had been placed in the area. On Sunday, "cones finally appeared...easing the problem."

A PSNI spokeswoman said police, who laid out traffic cones on Sunday, had received a number of reports in relation to traffic congestion in the Bloody Bridge area of Newcastle over the weekend.

"Our officers responded and issued a number of tickets for traffic offences," she said.

"While we understand people want to visit these areas, especially during this spell of hot weather, we would ask that drivers act responsibly by parking legally and do not obstruct other vehicles or block roadways.

"In particular, we would remind drivers that emergency access areas must be kept clear at all times. This is crucial to allow emergency services colleagues’ access to people in need of help.

"We would also remind the public of alternative transport services that are available in the area."

She added: "Our officers will be in the area to monitor the situation to ensure road safety and, if necessary, take enforcement action."

Northern Ireland news