Kennedy proposes introducing charges at currently free car-parks

YOU could be about to be charged 40p an hour to use three of Banbridge’s currently free car-parks.

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has presented his proposals to the committee for Regional Development on the Budget 2011 year one increases on car parking charges and the parking penalty charge.

The Minister also reaffirmed his pledge not to introduce 2011 budget plans to roll-out on-street parking charges in Banbridge

Danny Kennedy said: “As part of the 2011 budget plans Roads Service is proposing to introduce car parking charges in three Roads Service car parks, which were previously free.”

Under the proposals a charge of 40 pence per hour will be introduced from early June in the Downshire Place North, Townsend Street and Bridge Street East car parks in Banbridge.

The Minister stressed: “I have ensured that there is free off-street or on-street car parking in all towns across Northern Ireland, which includes 195 free car parking spaces in Kenlis Court, Church Square and Downshire Road. The off-street car parks may be a walk from the town centre but offer a free alternative to charged parking.

“Given the tough economic climate that town centre businesses are operating in, I have decided to hold the proposed year two review on car parking charges for two months. This is in addition to not proceeding with on-street parking charges.”

The DRD claim the introduction of these car park tariffs will encourage turnover of car parking spaces which will help to improve traffic management and promote the commercial and tourist vitality of our towns.

The list, of 25 free to charge car parks across Northern Ireland, was provided to the Assembly last September and these charges have been subject to a consultation process.

This set of tariff rises is part of the four-year budget plan for annual increases which will contribute towards the cost of parking operations.

The Minister also confirmed an increase to penalty charge notices, (PCNs), from £60 to £90, from early June 2012. Anyone who parks illegally risks receiving a penalty charge notice and will be liable for a fine of up to £90. By paying promptly within 14 days of getting the PCN, a 50% discount will apply reducing the fine to £45.

The original level of £60 fine for a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) was introduced when parking enforcement was decriminalised to the Department in 2006. There has been no increase since then.