Mid Ulster Council opens public consultation on parking

A packed Union Place car park in Cookstown where it is proposed to introduce charging
A packed Union Place car park in Cookstown where it is proposed to introduce charging

Now is the time for local people to “speak up and be heard” on plans for off street parking in the district according to a local councillor.

Consultation on a 10-year parking strategy for the district which could herald the end of free parking in Cookstown has now opened.

Loy Street car park in Cookstown where parking may remain free

Loy Street car park in Cookstown where parking may remain free

DUP council leader Paul McLean said it was important local people make their views known.

“If they don’t like the proposals they should say so clearly,” he said. “Now’s their chance to be heard.”

Cookstown Ulster Unionist Councillor Trevor Wilson also urged people to take part in the consultation.

He said that he was strongly opposed to parking charges in Cookstown.

When the ‘new approach’ to parking across the district was first mooted back in June, members of the public voiced their opposition to ending free parking in Cookstown on the Mail’s Facebook page.

The strategy sets out how the council aims to provide “quality off-street parking provision,” which it became responsible for in April 2015, as well as options for the future operation of the 23 off-street car parks in each towns and villages.

In Cookstown, the strategy proposes that both Loy Street and Orritor Street car parks remain free of charge, while both Union Place and Burn Road car parks become chargeable given their locations adjacent to the main street and the current proportion of all-day parkers.

Proposals for Magherafelt suggest that King Street car park remains unchanged, while Central and Union Road car parks should become fully chargeable given their proximity to the town centre and Rainey Street would benefit from more disabled and parent and child spaces. Elsewhere in Castledawson,

Coalisland, and Maghera, analysis of the usage of the car parks has shown that the majority of them operate with ample spare capacity, and proposed public realm schemes for both Maghera and Coalisland will consider car parking provision as part of the works.

Where charging is proposed, the Council is also suggesting that rather than ‘pay and display’, the car parks should become ‘pay on foot’ which reduces the need for enforcement and allows parkers to pay for the time they actually park.

To view the strategy and respond to the consultation, visit www.midulstercouncil.org/offstreetconsultation. Closing date for responses is Friday December 29.