Twenty-five towns across Northern Ireland are set to benefit from a special Christmas parking rates including Downpatrick, Ballynahinch, Banbridge, Hillborough, Lisburn, Newry, Bangor Newtownards and Hollywood.
Transport Minister Danny Kennedy made the announcement which will see the introduction of a new reduced tariff of five hours parking for just one pound in 95 Road Service car parks.[caption id="attachment_45029" align="alignleft" width="390"] Transport Minister, Danny Kennedy pictured following his announcement that 25 towns are to benefit from a Christmas and New Year parking boost.[/caption]
The Minister said: “Retailers across Northern Ireland have been suffering from the economic downturn and I know that the festive season is a key period for them financially. Last week I announced a Christmas transport package for shoppers and traders. This included free Park and Ride services in Belfast, Lisburn, Newry and Londonderry during late night shopping days and also on Saturdays, fare promotions and an embargo on road works over the Christmas period.
“I also wanted to ensure that other areas received some assistance which would encourage shoppers to go into towns over the Christmas period. That is why I have decided to introduce a new reduced tariff of five hours for one pound across 95 of my Department’s car parks. “
The new tariff will be introduced from 2 December and will continue until 11 January and will apply to car parks that have a tariff of 30p or more per hour. Drivers will still be able pay the minimum tariff in each car park, for example most car parks have a tariff of 40p per hour so if someone wants to stay for less than an hour they can simply pay 40p.
Concluding, the Minister said: “I have decided to run this scheme into January to ensure the public have time to shop at their leisure in the run-up to Christmas and during the New Year sales.
“I am confident these measures will provide a welcome boost for traders and would encourage the public to continue to support their local economy and shop local.”
This applies to 95 Roads Services car parks in 25 towns which have a tariff of 30p or more per hour.
The Chairman of the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Regional Development, Jimmy Spratt MLA, has welcomed the announcement of a new parking tariff for town centres in the lead up to Christmas.
Mr Spratt said: “This is a welcome impetus for shoppers and traders in the lead up to Christmas and the New Year, as it will encourage more people into our hard-pressed town centres and bring additional and important trade for retailers at a critical time for them.
“The Committee is supportive of this and the announcement last week in respect of Christmas parking tariffs for Belfast, as every little helps consumers and retailers during this time of economic downturn.”
The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has also described the reduced Car Parking tariff of £1 for five hours in twenty-five towns by the DRD Minister Danny Kennedy as an ‘early Christmas present for local traders’.
NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts who helped launch the scheme with the DRD Minister said: “This initiative will be welcomed by our members in the twenty-five towns, making it easier and more cost effective for shoppers to visit town centres over the Christmas period.
“Local town centre traders throughout Northern Ireland have been working harder than ever this Christmas to put in place an attractive retail and hospitality offer for consumers. The five hours for a £1 scheme will be a big boost in supporting their efforts.”