THE local council’s decision to scrap free Christmas car parking in Omagh town centre has been met with outrage.
Previously, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council provided free car parking on the two weekends before Christmas.
However, at a recent meeting, councillors opted to scrap the initiative, and also voted against implementing a reduced charge of 50p for three hours.
The decision has been widely criticised with hundreds of ‘Herald readers expressing their disappointment on social media.
Following the controversial decision, one local business is now offering to refund customers’ car parking tickets over the Christmas period if they spend over £25 in their store.
Speaking about her decision, Brenda O’Donnell of House of Vixen believes any discount around Christmas time would have been welcomed by local people.
“I saw the uproar on the ‘Herald Facebook so I have decided to put a positive spin on things,” said Mrs O’Donnell.
“If customers spend over £25 with us, they have seven days to come back in with their parking ticket and receipt, and I will refund their ticket.
“People were talking about going to other towns to do their Christmas shopping but we have invested a lot into the town centre and there was a real positive feeling around the town when we opened. Our customers pay for their parking all year around and we don’t expect free parking, but discount on one day or lower tariffs on a few car parks around the town would have went down a lot better.
“I want to encourage people to come in and shop in Omagh because we have a great town centre. It is a bit of an incentive for my customers to come into the store rather than go to other towns.”