Newcastle ‘overrun’ with visitors parking

Newcastle ‘overrun’ with visitors parking

6 January 2021

THE district’s leading citizen is to write to the NI Executive to introduce tougher measures regarding exercising close to following local beauty spots being over-run with visitors 

parking their cars and blocking accesses.

Councillor Laura Devlin, chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down Council, said she had been inundated with complaints from local residents over the festive period.

Cllr Devlin said: “Between Christmas and the New Year, the wider Newcastle area has been overrun. At any other time we would be welcoming visitors with open arms. However, in our current context it’s frightening.

“All access points to the Mournes and our forest parks have been overwhelmed with the limited car parks filling up and then closing so vehicles are parking along rural roads. Parking that is preventing farmers from accessing livestock and farm machinery being able to pass through the local narrow roads. 

“We have so many cars parked up that visibility when exiting driveways and people’s homes is non-existent. When you combine this with charging recommencing for vehicular access to our forest parks, we are going to see further and significant pressures at the entrance to Tollymore Forest Park in particular.”

Many people went on to social media complaining of being blocked into their driveways and cars parked on double yellow lines, particularly in Bryansford.

Cllr Devlin said that there was a growing feeling of tension between visitors and local people.

“I really do fear that if a Fire Brigade or an ambulance is required, it simply would be unable to navigate through the hundreds of cars.

“I have written to the Executive Office asking that they explore and consider additional restrictions in terms of travelling for exercise similar to the South of Ireland.

“The current essential travel message simply isn’t hitting home, as literally thousands of cars are arriving into Newcastle and the Mournes each day and our local Covid cases will undoubtedly rocket in the days ahead.”

She said that the community faced difficult times ahead and she urged people in the interim to remain near their homes.