MOTORISTS in Magherafelt can from today park for two hours in dedicated bays on many of the town’s streets.
The additional hour’s free parking follows calls from business owners who are keen to attract more trade to the town centre area.
Earlier this year, representatives from Magherafelt’s Council and Business Forum met with Roads Minister Danny Kennedy to discuss parking in the town, which was described as “strangulating trade.”
The relaxation of parking restrictions will soon be extended to the town’s car parks in a bid to give local businesses a boost - shoppers will be able to park for a three-hour period for a total of 40p, compared to the current tariff of 40p per hour.
Although the move has been welcomed by consumers and local businesses, Magherafelt DUP councillor Anne Forde expressed reservations.
“The reduction of car parking charges is to be welcomed, particularly in the run-up to Christmas, which should benefit businesses in the town,” she said. “However, in the long-term I would prefer that there were no charges at all.”