Business owners demand longer town centre parking

Traders in Cookstown want the on-street parking times extended to give shoppers longer to shop following the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions.

Friday, 3rd July 2020, 10:22 am
Updated Friday, 3rd July 2020, 10:46 am
Call for longer parking in Cookstown town centre with Covid-19 restrictions delaying customers in shops.
Call for longer parking in Cookstown town centre with Covid-19 restrictions delaying customers in shops.

One businessman told the Mail that shopping has become a lot more time consuming with shoppers sometimes having to queue up to get into premises.

“We badly need to keep shoppers in Cookstown for as long as possible because we are trying to find our feet again after being closed for so long and need the revenue,” he said. “We don’t want them to go to surrounding towns where the parking times are more favourable.”

The business man, who asked not to named, said town centre parking is currently limited to one hour which in his opinion did not give shoppers long enough to go about their business in the current circumstances.

Local DUP MLA Keith Buchanan said he fully understood the plight of town centre traders who were starting up again after the lockdown and obeying the restrictions.

He said he has been contacted by several business owners in the town and he has asked the Department for Infrastructure to review the current time limits.

“Shoppers now have longer to wait for service due to the current restrictions surrounding Covid-19 and town centre businesses do not want to lose out to out of town shopping,” said Mr Buchanan.

“Many businesses on our local high streets have been closed for the last couple of months due to Covid-19 restrictions to protect public health.”

The Mid Ulster MLA stressed it has been a devastating period for many local retailers and other businesses.

“As consumers have the future of these businesses in their hands, they may be deterred from shopping in the town centres due to parking enforcement and decide to spend their money elsewhere,” he continued.

“It would be a big boost to the retail and commercial businesses in town centres for there to be extended parking during this period.

“We need these restrictions reviewed as soon as possible to assist our high streets and I would urge people to shop local.

”The Department for Infrastructure (DFI) reintroduced parking enforcement in towns and villages across Northern Ireland on Monday.

Mid Ulster Council followed suit with enforcing parking regulations at their 23 off-street car parks in the district. Parking at Cookstown’s four main parks - Burn Road, Loy Street, Orritor Street and Union Place - remains free of charge.

The DFI was not available for an immediate response to the traders demand to extend the on-street parking limit in Cookstown.

--- A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Thank you