Traders in Magherafelt have expressed their ongoing frustrations over parking tickets issued in the town, which they say is having a devastating effect on business in the area.
One local trader, Mr Richard Farquhar took to social media to depict his anger and dismay at having been issued with a ticket outside his own store- when the machine failed to work to supply him with a ticket for parking.
The 48-year-old, filmed himself trying to retrieve a ticket from the machine, but it kept rejecting his £1 coin. He tried multiple coins but all were rejected. He even went to the post office to enquire and on his return he had a ticket on his car parked outside his K9 Bonus Petfood store.
Speaking in the video, which has gone viral online, Mr Farquahar makes reference to a number of figures: “This is about safety - it’s also about making money. Any normal person would see the owner of a business parked outside and shout inside are ‘you going to move that or have you got a ticket yet?’
“Magherafelt seems to get it worse. The statistics last year, tickets in Cookstown were 44, Dungannon were 324 and Magherafelt was 1137.
“We are quite hard done by in Magherafelt compared to the other two council areas.”
Speaking to the MAIL, Mr Farquhar said: “The other problem in Magherafelt is the machine doesn’t take the money. I was trying to buy a ticket, I wasn’t trying to get away with not paying for a ticket, I tried numerous coins and when I came back after walking through the snow to get other coins, there was the ticket.”
Pat Cassidy who runs C3 Computers in the town, expressed his frustrations with parking tickets as well, he has been issued with five tickets in the last 14 months.
“The problem in Magherafelt is the way in which the tickets are issued. I would call them illegally issued. The stress they cause is getting beyond a joke. The third time I was issued with a ticket I was parked outside my own business unloading heavy items and they said to me you can’t park there. I told them I was unloading into my business and they continued to tell me I couldn’t park there.
“It is destroying this town. It is having a seriously negative effect on business in Magherafelt. The inequality in how they have been issued across the whole district and other areas is the big issue. Magherafelt is seen as a soft touch.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Regional Development said: “Everyone who receives a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is entitled to challenge the issuing of the PCN. Should the challenge not be successful, the recipient can then make formal representation of evidence.
“If this second stage is also unsuccessful there is the final option of going to appeal with and independent adjudicator, if they feel it was unfairly issued.
“This will require appellants to provide as much information as possible to allow full consideration of any appeal.
“If anyone encounters a problem with a P&D machine, there is a contact number on the machine which should be used to report the fault.
With regard to Mr Farquhar’s complaint, TNI has requested the transaction records, and inspection and maintenance records for the machines in Rainey Street car park. The number of Notices issued in any one town or area depends on many factors, not least of which are the size of the town, the extent of parking restrictions and the volume of traffic. These factors plus the level of illegal parking will influence where Traffic Attendants (TA) are deployed.”