A large number of parking spaces is to be removed from a Newry city centre street as part of plans of a social distance initiative.
The removal of the spaces on Hill Street has caused great concern among traders on the street.
The process of removal by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has started today (Monday).
Newry & Armagh MLA Liz Kimmins says there is anger amongst the business community locally.
“Traders have been advised by council officials that the DfI Pilot Scheme to remove car parking spaces on Hill Street as part of a walking / cycling / safe distance initiative is proceeding today,” explained the Sinn Fein MLA.
“This has caused huge shock and anger amongst the business community as I am aware that the feedback given to the council on this issue by key stakeholders from the business sector was a resounding rejection of the current proposals.”
The Newry MLA said she has contacted the DfI and Council to request that any change in the parking capacity along Hill Street is put on hold until proper consultation with local traders is carried out.
Said Ms Kimmins: “I am supportive of walking and cycling initiatives and safe shopping, however there has to be balance in any scheme rolled out.
“There are genuine concerns about the rationale behind the decision to remove car parking spaces and ultimately the very negative impact it will have on the sustainability of those businesses along Hill Street, who like many others in our city, are doing their utmost to stay open.
“I have requested that no change is enacted until the DfI meet with Business representatives to discuss this scheme thoroughly.”