LURGAN motorists are viewed as ‘the goose that lays the golden egg’ as figures show almost 1,500 parking tickets were issued in the town last year.
In total 1,491 tickets were given out in Lurgan from January to December last year, according to statistics issued by the Department of Regional Development.
Half of those tickets, a whopping 742 were issued in Market Street.
The top ticketed streets in Lurgan were Union St where 236 were handed out, High St with 146 tickets, William St had 84 tickets issued while North St had 58 tickets. In Carnegie St 53 were issued while in Windsor Ave 51 tickets were given out.
News website The Detail which published the parking ticket statistics throughout Northern Ireland was told the DRD admitted the cost of providing parking services exceeds revenues received but insisted that the benefits of reduced congestion, improved access to town centres and improved road safety are vital to local economies.
Upper Bann MP David Simpson said he was concerned the ‘economic and retail life of Lurgan is being squeezed unduly by car parking charges and tickets’.
“The decision by the DRD Minister to grant free on street car parking for both Lisburn and Newry over the Christmas period placed an additional squeeze on economies in towns like Lurgan that were caught in between the two.
“This was especially so given that there was no consideration given to allowing a similar measure for off street parking in the town as a way of matching that. This placed Lurgan traders at a considerable disadvantage over that crucial trading period in the year,” said Mr Simpson.
“One could easily conclude that Lurgan motorists are viewed as being the goose that lays the golden egg for the Department and that they are seen as an easy way to raise money.
“These high figures reinforce the numerous concerns raised by traders to me that aggressive ticketing alongside of car parking costs could have the impact of driving shoppers away from our town centres.
“Consumers could be forced away from Lurgan by this combination of advantaging other retail centres and aggressive ticketing of motorists.
“I am concerned that Lurgan traders will be placed under an even greater strain by such measures as shoppers choose to go elsewhere. And I would appeal for more common sense to prevail,” said the Upper Bann MP.
SDLP Councillor Joe Nelson said that while it would appear wardens may be ‘over zealous’ Lurgan was not as bad for getting a ticket as Portadown.
Councillor Nelson said congestion was a major problem in Lurgan and it needed to be dealt with.
He said there were a lot of problems with people parking illegally in Lurgan adding that it is important that illegal parking is ‘actioned’.