Council vows to review off street car parking

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Off street parking is under review by the council - a year and a half after it took control of local car parks.

Many local businesses have been critical of the paid-for car parking believing that it has led to a bleeding out of customers to out of town shopping centres where there is free parking.

And it transpires that some Pay and Display machines are making a loss. One machine Lurgan’s in Castle Lane made a loss of £303.97 and another in Waring St a loss of £54.30.

An audit also found there appears to be ‘no reasoning behind which car parks are charged and which are free’.

The Council replied: “Ownership and responsibility for off-street car parking only transferred to Councils as of 1st April 2015. As such, Council required a period of time to assess the issues associated with the day to day management of such assets. The Internal Audit Report was completed in conjunction with the Council officers responsible for car parks and highlighted matters which could only be identified after the first year of the Transfer to ensure that all matters including seasonal changes to car park usage and income could be fully considered.

“A review of the frequency of collections from Pay & Display machines has already been completed and the Department for Infrastructure has been instructed accordingly. Enquiries have been made with DFI as to the rationale for which car parks are charged and which are free, especially in some cases where free car parks are located closer to the town centre than those which are charged.

“Council has been advised that this was a decision by the Divisional Roads Office. A review of such situations will be carried out by Council in due course. Only two Pay & Display machines out of a total of 45 have been found to be making a loss in terms of income against the cost of collections. The cost of operating and maintaining the machines in these two car parks does not meet the income of cost collections.”