REGIONAL Development Minister Danny Kennedy refused to commit to scrapping on-street parking charges in Cookstown saying he was still consulting on the issue.
Mr Kennedy, who was in town to received an 8,000-strong signature petition opposing the charges, said he would be making a decision within the next couple of weeks.
“On-street parking charges are a top priority and I am determined to hear a range of views, including traders, residents, shoppers, Chamber of Commerce and local representatives,” he said.
“Our pledge in the party’s manifesto is that we would look carefully at on street charges. I intend to honour that pledge. I am certainly interested in not only the reaction but also the work that a lot of towns have done and Chambers of Commerce.
“I have had petitions from Comber and Newtownards and representations from Armagh and Portadown and towns across Northern Ireland.
“The possible introduction of on street parking charges has struck a raw nerve with a great many of the traders in our market towns.
“It is nice to see that Cookstown is still a busy market town obviously but 8,000 signatures is a loud voice that is being reechoed in towns that I have had representations from.
“I am listening closely and I will in due course make an announcement I hope in the next couple of weeks before Stormont rises in early July.
“What I want to do is listen closely to the views of the traders and the public representatives,” said Mr Kennedy.
RIGHT: Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy accepts a petition objecting to parking charges from local traders and Councillors in Cookstown. (Pictured left to right with Minister Kennedy are Ryan Wylie, Michelle McLarnon, Cllr Samuel Glasgow, TP Sheehy, Cllr Trevor Wilson and Cllr Tony Quinn).