Motorists may face penalties for using other free car parks

MOTORISTS seeking to avoid the soon-to-be introduced 40p per hour parking charges in three popular car parks in Banbridge town centre by looking at alternatives will have to look a little harder after both Tesco and Banbridge Lesiure Centre all but ruled out any tolerance of non-customers using their spaces.

The car parking charges, due to be introduced this month at Bridge Street East, Downshire North and Townsend Street, have been heavily criticised by road users, local representatives and traders alike.

Many Leader readers said the charges are a further unnecessary tax on road users.

And now it has emerged that motorists may not find it so easy to use other free spaces in the town as precautions will be taken to prevent them from doing so.

At Banbridge Leisure Centre, just a short walk from the town centre, there is a whole host of free spaces for use - but only by those using the facilities at the centre.

“Currently we don’t have huge problems with car park overspill,” said Leisure Centre Manager Steven Tully.

“Maybe if there is an event or something on, but if a lot more people began using it as a free car park I could see it becoming a potential problem.

“It is something that would concern us if the Leisure Centre users couldn’t get a space in the car park.”

Some leisure centres use a ticket or recipt system to control car park users and Mr Tully said he would not rule out the possibility of looking into a similar option.

Meanwhile Tesco on the Castlewellan Road has an extensive car park - but motorists might not find any joy here either.

A spokesman for the multinational company said many of their companies use a numberplate recognition system which monitors the length of time a vehicle may stay in the car park - depending on the size of the store and how long it might take customer to do their shopping.

He was unable to confirm to the Leader whether this is the case at the Banbridge store though.