TRAFFIC wardens handed out a total of 102 parking tickets in Dromore last year, an online report has revealed.
Market Square and four of its tributaries between them accounted for 92 of the tickets, the Square landing the lion’s share of 34, with Princes Street close behind on 26, Lower Mount Street and Gallows Street following on 15 and 14 respectively and Bridge Street bringing up the rear with three.
The remaining 10 tickets were issued at Banbridge Road (3), Meeting Street (3), Castle Street (2), the Lottery Place access road (1) and Lagan View Terrace (1).
The figures were revealed on website ‘The Detail’, whose journalists conducted a Freedom of Information Act investigation into the total number of parking tickets issued provincewide in 2011.
Among the larger of Banbridge district’s population centres Dromore’s comparatively modest total was nevertheless second only to Banbridge itself, where 1,258 tickets were handed out, the Commercial Road Car Park and Rathfriland Street each accounting for 366 penalties.
Some 48 tickets were issued in Rathfriland - 30 of them in Church Square - and seven were issued in Gilford, five on Mill Street.
In the course of ‘The Detail’s investigation the Department for Regional Development conceded the income from PCNs (parking tickets) did not cover the full cost of the department’s contract with service provider NSL.
A spokesperson said, “The aim of effective parking enforcement is to reduce the number of illegally parked vehicles on our streets and in our car-parks; if this is achieved then the income from PCNs is reduced and the deficit is increased.
“However, the consequential benefits of reduced congestion, improved access to town centres and improved road safety are seen as vital to local economies.”
That said, the Banbridge total prompted Upper Bann MP David Simpson to voice concern that the economic and retail life of Banbridge was being squeezed unduly by car-parking charges and tickets. Despite the sizeable difference in the number of tickets issued in each of the two towns, Mr. Simpson’s is a view sure to find some favour in Dromore, where recent months have seen fresh complaints emerge that traffic regulations and those enforcing them are “killing” remaining trade.
On the other hand, one local woman has insisted Dromore town centre has for years been on a path of self-destruction that has nothing to do with parking attendants or restrictions.
The Dromore woman blasted lazy drivers, all-day parking, “misinformed blow-ins” and people who believed they should be above the law.
It emerged just last week that, following a meeting between Roads Service officials and Dromore interest groups, an extension to the town centre’s one-hour parking limit is being considered, subject to wider public consultation.