The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has expressed surprise and dismay at the Infrastructure Ministers’ decision to hike on-street car charges in Belfast, Newry and Lisburn without any consultation with traders’ groups.
“This decision to hike car parking charges in Belfast, Newry and Lisburn city centres without any consultation is completely unacceptable,” said chief executive Glyn Roberts.
“We are strongly opposed to this and will be lobbying the new Infrastructure Minister after the Assembly Election to reverse this disgraceful and unnecessary move.
“Rather than increasing parking charges, the Minister should be reducing them to encourage more people to come into the three city centres.
Under the proposals charges in Belfast city centre are set to increase by 20p per hour from £1.20 to £1.40, while a number of streets on the edge of the city centre with a current charge of 80p per hour will increase to £1.20 per hour.
Charges in Newry will increase from 40p to 60p per hour and in Lisburn, from 60p to 80p per hour.
“The only winners from this hike are the big out of town superstores with their unfair competitive advantage of free car-parking and no over zealous traffic attendants,” said Mr Roberts.
“We will be fighting this hike and will be engaging with all political parties during the Assembly Election to ensure Belfast, Lisburn and Newry city centres get a fair deal on car parking.”