Parking peril has Dromore drivers up in arms at fines

Double yellow lines extend only partially into the Gallows Street entrance to Dromore's short-stay car park.
Double yellow lines extend only partially into the Gallows Street entrance to Dromore's short-stay car park.

Disgruntled Dromore drivers are up in arms over the latest parking peril to emerge in town.

A number of local motorists have been ticketed after parking in the Gallows Street mouth of the town centre short-stay car-park and appeals have been reportedly rejected despite an element of confusion surrounding the ‘spaces’ in question.

Warnings that drivers should steer clear or risk a penalty came this week with a call for traffic wardens to exercise “common sense and leniency” until the local council could act to put the issue beyond question.

For now, double yellow lines on the pharmacy side of the Gallows Street in-road end abruptly and locals have long felt free to park at the roadside, but, a grace period that heralded the transfer of off-road parking to the local authority having ended some weeks ago, traffic wardens are now issuing tickets on the basis that car-park signage warns drivers to park only in marked spaces.

“There are no markings and no signs there,” said one driver who fell foul of the situation and unsuccessfully appealed a penalty notice. “It turns out there is a sign elsewhere in the car-park, but if you’re driving in from Gallows Street and parking beside the chemist, who’s going to walk around the car-park to see if there’s a sign?”

Some people are apparently unaware the in-road is even part of the car-park proper.

Dromore councillor, Alderman Paul Rankin, said: “We have had people call into Brenda Hale’s office who have always parked there and have been hit with fines.

“We’ve asked that the situation be cleared up because it’s not fair on people to be left in confusion. We would call too for common sense from traffic wardens and a bit of leniency; people aren’t aware they can’t park there.”

An Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council spokesman said: “The car-park has two entrances but only one exit. Due to its shape, the car-park can be quite tight for vehicles to manoeuvre and as such it is important that, as the recently erected signs make clear, cars should only be parked in designated bays.

“Inspections of the car-park revealed vehicles were being parked along the side of the Gallows Street entrance as far back as the corner kerb, adjacent to the parking bays. This further restricted the already confined space and ability of cars entering from Gallows Street to turn in the event of them not finding a space, given that they cannot exit via the Lottery Place entrance.

“When cars are parked adjacent to the pharmacy, in contravention of parking regulations, traffic turning left from Gallows Street into the car-park is often forced to reverse against the flow of traffic to permit vehicles exiting the car-park to pass.

“The area adjacent to the pharmacy forms part of the car-park and, as such, is subject to the rules . . . Where there are no designated bays, there should be no parking.

“The council is considering introducing a one-way system through the car-park which would enable disabled bays to be introduced adjacent to the pharmacy but this will require consultation with Transport NI. It is hoped a meeting can be arranged soon . . ..

“In the meantime, the council would encourage all car-park users to only park within designated parking bays to facilitate the safety of other drivers and avoid congestion.”