REGIONAL Development Minister Danny Kennedy is to be contacted by Armagh Council over concerns that increases in the number of parking tickets issued in the area is costing the city dearly in terms of trade.
During the course of a recent committee meeting, Sinn Fein city Councillor Cathy Rafferty claimed that one attendant in particular had been somewhat “over zealous” with issuing notices during the month of March.
She inferred that the level of penalties being issued in the city centre had significantly increased during that period.
Councillor Rafferty referred to some examples where notices had been imposed, including one given while a motorist had left their vehicle for a very brief period to obtain change for the parking meter in a nearby shop, despite their passenger explaining the situation to the traffic attendant.
A further example involved a motorist who had a blue badge on display on their vehicle being asked to remove it to verify the identity of their disabled passenger who held the badge.
Councillor Rafferty also expressed concern in relation to the adverse effect this was having on trade for some local businesses as their “over-zealous approach was off-putting for customers”.
Councillor Jim Speers (UUP) said traffic attendants could sometimes be over-zealous and the system was somewhat unfair, in that people had to pay for off-street parking whilst they could park for free at retail centres outside towns and cities.
Councillor Freda Donnelly (DUP) remarked that city traders were already at a disadvantage to out-of-town shopping centres, since shoppers had to be actively encouraged to use local retailers while having to pay for parking in most cases.
She emphasised that traffic attendants should be asked to show more compassion and discretion while carrying out their duties.
What is your experience of the parking situation in Armagh and, indeed, across the county as a whole? Do you think shoppers are being put off by an over-zealous approach? Tell Armagh I what you think!