COOKSTOWN District Council Chief Executive Adrian McCreesh has vowed to fight any proposal to end free car parking in the town centre.
Mr McCreesh made his comments following a report that representatives from the Department of Regional Development had discussed introducing Cookstown car parking charges to councillors at Dungannon and South Tyrone council.
Mr McCreesh hit out at the claims and said Council would be seeking an urgent meeting with DRD over the issue.
Speaking to the MAIL, Mr McCreesh said: “It has come to our attention through a local media report that the DRD are contemplating introducing car parking charges into Cookstown.
“Cookstown District Council has continuously made it abundantly clear that it is totally opposed to the introduction of any such charges and has previously put this in writing to the Minister and the Department.”
“We in Council will be seeking an urgent meeting with representatives from the Department to clarify the nature of the discussions they appear to be having with one or more other council areas with specific reference to car parking charges in Cookstown.”
“We are determined to ensure that car parking charges are not introduced into Cookstown, now or for the foreseeable future,” he said.
The Chief Executive added that any attempt to introduce charges in the town centre would be vehemently opposed by Council.
Mr McCreesh added: “Council has demonstrated this commitment to Cookstown town centre through huge investments over the last 15 years which has established Cookstown as the retail capital of Mid-Ulster.
“Any attempt to introduce any unnecessary additional costs upon our consumers and retailers will have a detrimental effect, one that we are not prepared to tolerate.”
And Ulster Unionist MLA Sandra Overend confirmed that after speaking with Minister Danny Kennedy, there are no plans to introduce car parking charges in the forseeable future.
‘The Minister has reassured me there is no prospect of charges being introduced,’ she told ths MAIL.