Resort parking to be examined

Resort parking to be examined

23 November 2011 - by DAVID TELFORD

A FRESH look is to be taken at how the removal of several parking spaces on Newcastle’s Main Street would affect businesses and traffic flow.

Roads Service officials are keen to address traffic congestion problems at a notorious bottleneck where Railway Street meets Main Street, but would like any solution to secure the backing of the town’s business community.

The possibility of removing the spaces, which are adjacent to the Donard Hotel and adjoining businesses, was discussed at last week’s meeting of Newcastle Chamber of Commerce.

One suggestion discussed was placing police cones at this part of the town to see if refusing motorists permission to park would improve traffic flow.

Chamber president, Mrs. Audrey Byrne, said the

views of business owners need to be taken on board

before any decision is

taken to remove parking spaces.

It was suggested last year that parking at this part of the town should be prohibited between April and September, traditionally Newcastle’s busiest time when visitors to the resort increase significantly.

During this period it was suggested vehicles could stop to make deliveries and accommodate bridal parties attending wedding receptions at the Donard Hotel.

Mrs. Byrne said while some people think there should be no parking

outside the Donard Hotel, the views of businesses in the area need to be taken on board.

“This is a delicate issue and needs to be handled sensitively. There are those who believe the parking spaces should be retained, while others say they should be removed,” she explained.

Mrs. Byrne said it was agreed at last week’s meeting that in conjunction with the PSNI, cones preventing people parking alongside the Donard Hotel would be put in place at busy times to see if the absence of cars improves traffic flow. She said a final decision on whether the spaces should remain or be removed will not be taken for some time yet.

She added: “Traders will be asked for their views. The issue of the bottleneck is a difficult one but it has to be addressed. We all need to agree on a way forward and perhaps banning parking along one side of Main Street at certain times of the year could be the answer. Whatever the solution, it must be one everyone in business can buy into.

“It was particularly encouraging to see so many traders attend last week’s meeting to discuss an amicable way forward to address the congestion issue at the top of the town.”