THE proposed increase in car parking penalty charges will drive people out of the towns, according to Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly.
Speaking after a meeting of the Assembly’s Regional Development Committee, Mrs Kelly said she voted against the proposal to increase charges from £60 to £90.
A motion will now be brought before the Assembly on the issue.
She said, “I welcome the support from other parties which was given in opposition to the proposed rise in car parking penalties.
“For many people it is tough enough at present to find the money to cover the current fine amount. Inflating it further will simply lead to further hardship for many or an increase in unpaid fines with people being brought before the courts for petty parking offences.
“A colossal hike in fines on motorists will also do little to revitalise our town centres and local businesses. It will, in all likelihood, have a counter affect, driving more people out of the retail hubs in our towns to out-of-town complexes with free car parking.
“Motorists are being hit hard at present with the increase in fuel prices and motor insurance. This proposal by the Regional Development Minister must be binned and the SDLP looks forward to supporting local traders by voting against it when it comes before the floor of the Assembly.”