Council abandons costly park barriers

Council abandons costly park barriers

12 December 2012

DOWN Council has shelved plans to restrict access to the various car parks it controls in the Newcastle area.

Consideration was being given to fitting bars across the entrance to the car parks which would have prohibited large vans, caravans and motor homes from entering them.

A report prepared by council officials — which was made public last week — revealed that the total cost of fitting height restrictors would be in the region of £45,000.

The suggestion to restrict the type of vehicles which could use the council-owned car parks was discussed some time ago and was aimed at deterring members of the travelling community from stopping in them.

A report on restricting access to the car parks was discussed at last week’s meeting of Down Council’s Building Control and Estates Committee.

The council-controlled car parks in Newcastle include those at the Downs Road, outside the Newcastle Centre, at Castle Park and Donard Park, at the Rock Pool, at the Glen River at South Promenade, the tennis courts and at the Islands Park off Bryansford Avenue.

The Islands Park car park is the only one in the resort where access is currently restricted. Height restriction barriers were also erected at the main car park at the Newcastle Road in Dundrum two years ago when it was significantly redeveloped.

Councillor Robert Burgess, who chaired last week’s committee meeting, said politicians are reluctant to introduce any measure at the Newcastle car parks which would deter visitors.

“Cost was also a major issue and I and others have no doubt that the council could so so much more with £45,000 then erect height restriction barriers at car parks,” he said.

“Providing these restrictors could also require planning approval which would add to the cost.”

Councillor Burgess said he and his colleagues believe that restricting access to car parks “would send out the wrong signal” in a town which is a leading tourist attraction.