‘Parking Fines are putting shoppers off’ claim

Parking ticket.
Parking ticket.

Banbridge is one of Northern Ireland’s most ticketed towns for on-street parking - taking twelfth position in a list of 79 towns surveyed.

Local drivers were issued 342 parking tickets for on-street infractions during the first three months of this year.

Dromore and Rathfriland featured much further down the scale with just 14 tickets issued in Dromore from January to March, while 37 tickets were issued in Rathfriland over the same period.

No on-street fines were issued in Gilford during the three months.

It has also been revealed that the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area is one of the most ticketed for off-street parking - taking second place in the province’s 11 council areas (beating Belfast which took third place).

The area had 1,036 off-street infractions from January to March.

In Banbridge town there were 224 tickets issued in the first quarter of this year. Portadown was the council area’s most ticketed town with 379 notices issued, with Armagh in second place amassing 274 tickets, Lurgan took fourth place with 159 tickets.

Fermanagh and Omagh Council topped the pile with 1,184 off-street tickets issued, Antrim and Newtownabbey were 11th in the league with 162 tickets.

On a month by month breakdown there were 68 tickets issued in Banbridge in January, and 79 apiece in both February and March.

Chair of the Chamber of Commerce Michael Donaghy said that many shoppers are put off coming into Banbridge because of the parking and the threat of parking fines.

He said: “There are wardens who are often over zealous, some might say. The fine is £90 for what can be a simple and genuine mistake.

“Unfortunately people are put off coming into Banbridge to shop because of the car parking, people get confused by the different rules for on-street and off-street.

“Often they’d go to the Outlet or Sprucefield because the parking is free and there isn’t the threat of a ticket.”