DUNGANNON councillor and shop owner Walter Cuddy has called for “uniformity” of parking charges in towns across the council area.
His comments were made following the announcement that all public ‘Pay and Display’ car parks in Dungannon town centre will be free 24 hours of the day during the months of September and October.
Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council is making the move to encourage more shoppers and visitors back into the town centre as work continues with the public realm scheme in Market Square. Major work being carried out in Dungannon town centre is due to be completed by the end of September.
Welcoming the free parking initiative, Cllr Cuddy said, “The Environment Improvement Scheme will help improve the movement around the town. A lot of people were frustrated with the traffic flow difficulties. We hope the free parking will attract people back to the town centre and see it as a better environment.
“As a town representative I think we need a better balance with cheaper parking and attracting people into the town rather than them going to the peripheral to shop. We need better parking in Dungannon to survive long-term.”
The initiative has been rolled out following a proposal from Dungannon Traders Association to the council and subsequent agreement reached with DRD Roads Service who own the car parks.
The free parking measures will come into effect for a trial period from today (Monday) and continue through until Friday, October 31 inclusive.
Cllr Cuddy also highlighted Castle Hill which is a magnet for tourists.
“Dungannon is an old historical town and there are plans to build a £3.5m flexible indoor/outdoor arena for major events.
“It is essential to have access and convenient parking.”
Looking forward to the new super-council which will commence in April next year, the UUP representative envisages cheaper parking rates across the entire district. However he also called for “uniformity.”
Cllr Cuddy explained, “The largest towns in the new council area will be Dungannon Cookstown, Magherafelt and Coalisland. Dungannon and Magherafelt have significant parking charges, Cookstown is free and Coalisland is a ‘free-for-all.’ There needs to be uniformity and fairness across all the towns. The new council will have to address the major differences.”
* The free car parks for September and October are at Perry Street, Scotch Street, Castle Hill and Ann Street.