PROPOSED changes to car parking charges in Banbridge and the long-awaited bus station in Banbridge were on the agenda when Upper Bann MP David Simpson met with representatives of Banbridge Chamber of Commerce .
The meeting was arranged to discuss issues affecting the local business community and was very constructive, according to Mr Simpson.
Speaking afterwards he said: “This was a very timely meeting. We discussed a number of issues of concern to the local business community, including recent new additional increased car parking charges in the town centre and the number of parking tickets issued in the town – both issues that have caused a considerable amount of public anger in recent days.
“I very much share the concerns of local traders that people could be pushed away from town centres such as Banbridge with the effect that local businesses operating on fine margins already could be forced to the wall.
“This is one potentially very damaging and destructive legacy of the Tory cuts agenda set out at the last General Election.
“I have already made representation to DRD Roads Service on this. I took the opportunity to ask local traders to contact Roads Service and the Minister to outline their very real and well founded concerns on this. I would want to take this opportunity to urge members of the public to also make very strong representation to DRD Roads Service, the Minister and the newly appointed Assembly Private Secretary to the Minister, calling for movement to support the local economy.”
He added, “We also discussed a number of longer standing issues such vacant shop fronts and the need for a new bus station in Banbridge. On the need for new bus station it is true that this was recently placed on the long finger by the Minister.
“But we shouldn’t simply accept that there will be no movement on this. It may prove to be the case that could be unspent end of year money that could be diverted towards a project such as this.”
“It is vital that everyone sends out a strong message that we need positive movement on this and that we all stand alongside local businesses at this time and give them our support.”