TRADERS and politicians have welcomed the announcement that proposals to introduce parking charges in Lurgan town centre have been scrapped.
Regional Development minister Danny Kennedy revealed the news last week.
However, one local MLA rounded on Mr Kennedy, accusing him of doing a “U-turn”. Despite announcing that on-street charges will be scrapped, Dolores Kelly said the Minister intends to introduce pay-and-display parking at Moore’s Lane and Waring Street in the town.
Simon Dowey, of Lurgan Chamber of Trade, said he was delighted with the announcement that the charges will be scrapped.
He said: “We have raised this issue at previous meetings with Danny Kennedy. We told him that charging for parking in the town centre would drain the life blood from Lurgan.
“He has listened to our concerns, and this is very welcome.”
UUP MLA Sam Gardiner said: “This is good news for town centre traders in the three towns of Upper Bann. Every penny that goes on parking charges is a penny that does not go into the traders’ pockets.
He added: “I must congratulate Danny Kennedy on this significant reversal of Sinn Fein policy. It shows that Ulster Unionism is the party of small town centre businesses.”
Party colleague Jo-Anne Dobson MLA said: “This is good news for town centre businesses and the general public and is a clear example of a Minister who actively listens to their views.”
The SDLP’s Dolores Kelly said: “The Minister’s decision to introduce new pay-and-display parking in Moore’s Lane and Waring Street in Lurgan is a disgrace.
“I welcome that he is going to keep free on-street parking, but by introducing charges in car parks, he has effectively done a U-turn.
“These unwarranted fees will take more money out of the pockets of ordinary shoppers and commuters – money that they don’t have to spare.”