Council U-turn on parking charges at tourist hot spots

Portrush would  have been one of the affected tourist hot spots
Portrush would have been one of the affected tourist hot spots

Causeway Coast and Glens Council has voted to overturn its decision to introduce seasonal parking at tourist hot spots.

The divisive measure was defeated at a meeting of the council by 18 votes to 14 on Tuesday evening.

Originally the plan had been backed by 21 votes to 11, but that decision was called-in by the six-strong group of Ulster Unionists on the council.

A spokesman for the group said they were pleased that a number of councillors had reversed their positions on the issue since the initial vote was taken at the start of the month.

“We are delighted that a number of councillors from across the political spectrum have deviated from their original decision to back us in our bid to quash seasonal charges at a number of car parks across our coastal towns and villages,” he said.

“We appreciate the pressures council faces in relation to costs associated with the upkeep of car parks which we adopted from central government in the last number of years.

“We also appreciate that a number of issues relating to car parking in Coleraine, Ballymoney, Limavady etc have come to the surface during this debate.

“We have made it clear from the outset that we are well aware of the costs involved with adopting scores of car parks from central government, but feel that the recent recommendation to implement a blanket charge across our tourist hot spots was a knee-jerk reaction with little thought given to the impact on local residents and our tourist industry.”

Independent councillor Padraig McShane also opposed the charges, which would have affected sites in Ballintoy, Ballycastle, Portballintrae, Portrush and Portstewart.

“The proposal ran against our aspirations as a tourism destination,” he said.