Parking restrictions at a carpark used by customers of SuperValu and Home Bargains, as well as premises like the Hub, Burnavon and Ritz Cinema have been met with a mixed reaction.
The Hub’s Carol Doey, has voiced concern over the move amid worries that in the future, charges could be introduced at the Town Hall carpark, just opposite.
But the move was said to be necessary to stop all-day parkers taking advantage of the free spaces, according to SuperValu’s manager, as they were leaving no room for the supermarket’s shoppers.
Implemented by the two shops that own the parking lot - SuperValu and Home Bargains - the move means shoppers can still park for free, for up to two hours.
But if cars are left for longer than the allocated time, or parked where there are no marked-out bays - drivers risk being hit with a £70 fine.
Speaking to the Mail about the move, SuperValu’s manager, said: “There were people taking up our spaces [all day].
“Our car park’s a big carpark and we had elderly people down the back corner having to walk 500yds through the rain to get to us.
“The car park is for our customers, and two hours is enough time for anybody, even around Cookstown.
“The signs are up and we’ve been notifying people about it, and all the feedback that we have been getting in-store has been positive as well. Not one person who is a genuine customer has complained.”
However Mrs Doey, who runs the Hub, which backs on to the carpark in question, said: “It’s just so detrimental to the whole street, which has only just picked up.
“The Burn Road is now hiving, it’s the hub of the town, and now they bring this in, and people’s going to say, ‘Well, you know what, I can’t be bothered’.”
Pleading her case for free, un-timed parking, she added: “Let Cookstown be outstanding. Let’s stay unique. Let’s not pay for car-parking spaces.”
Some shoppers who were approached by the Mail, however, said they agreed with the move.
One lady, who did not want to be named, told our reporter: “I agree with it. People were parking there all day and it stopped their patrons from using it. I think it’s something they had to do.”
Mr Johnson, however said he thought the fine was too high. “Ridiculous,” he said.
“I use this carpark every week, maybe three times a week and that one over there too... [but] this one’s handier.
“£70 is ridiculous, even if it was £10 - something like that - you could excuse it, but not £70.
But he did agree that people shouldn’t have taken advantage of the free parking, by leaving their cars there all day.
“People shouldn’t be parking all day,” he added, “it’s for shoppers. Parking all day definitely not - I would put a £70 fine on them alright.
“But anybody coming in to do their shopping, and them outside for two hours or so, and being hit with a £70 fine, that’s far far too much.”
Home Bargain’s manager was given the opportunity to comment on the new parking restrictions on their carpark on the Burn Road, but had not, by the time of going to print.