All-day parkers taking spaces left for shoppers

SIR, — Newry, Mourne and Down Council recently announced that it was to waive parking charges in Downpatrick town centre to encourage people to shop locally.

The Irish Street car park is currently free to use which, when this was formally announced, was warmly welcomed by the town’s business community.

The car park is free to use until August 10, but a problem has emerged. There are very few spaces available as a result of what I would describe as all-day parkers.

I am not sure who the vehicles belong to but I am concerned that the lack of spaces could force shoppers to go elsewhere. In the run-up to the traditionally busy back-to-school period, this is not what local businesses need.

I am writing this letter to highlight the issue and hope that Newry, Mourne and Down Council will address my concerns.

One option which should be considered is allowing people to park free for two hours. This would allow a turnover of spaces and also deter all-day parkers.

The Downpatrick business community, like many across the district, is attempting to recover from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.

I was in favour of free parking in Irish Street but, as things currently stand, the spaces are literally being eaten up by all-day parkers. 

Allowing shoppers a free two-hour parking window would address the situation.

I hope that the local authority and indeed Downpatrick councillors will agree with my suggestion.

Yours etc,