THE 8,000 signatures of Cookstown shoppers opposed to parking charges have been formally handed over to the new Minister of Regional Development.
Danny Kennedy made the trip to the Co Tyrone town in one of his first engagements as Minister.
And Cookstown is the first town in Northern Ireland to formally present the petition to him.
The signatures were presented by members of the Cookstown Chamber of Commerce, who launched to campaign to keep the town free of parking charges six weeks ago.
President of the Chamber of Commerce, Brian Jordan said he was overwhelmed by the response of shoppers in the town who were furious at the thought of being charged to park.
“In these extreme economic times the last thing town centres need is another reason for people to stay away. This displacement of shoppers and visitors would have resulted in the out of town centres benefiting, where parking is free.
“I am happy that Mr Kennedy, who has already pledged not to implement the charges, has listened to the will of the people throughout the province.
Despite that assurance we want him to know how the people of Mid Ulster feel and by handing over the signed petitions he will know where we stand on the issue.”