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Motorists have cause to celebrate this week as one of the most frustrating aspects of driving in Newry is to be eased. Parking in the city has long been a problem whether it is to do with the cost, the lack of spaces or people parking where they shouldn’t. All of those problems could be lessened by Friday however when a new free car park opens in the city. The space of land in the North Street Flats area of the city which is owned by the Department of Social Development (DSD) sits unused for most of the year. It’s briefly opened over Christmas as a temporary car park but quickly blocked off again when the flow of festive shoppers dries up. However City Centre Management has brokered a deal with DSD which will see the area opened as a free car park as early as this Friday. A DSD spokesman said the new facility should offset any loss of parking caused by the redevelopment of the Quay area of the city. “DSD is delighted to be able to support the Newry City Centre Management’s (NCCM) decision to provide additional parking in North Street for local workers and visitors to Newry over the next two years,” he said. “The opening of this site as a car park in conjunction with the proposed opening of Corry Square will provide as estimated 250 additional car parking spaces, more than offsetting any loss in car parking along the Quay. The Department will continue to explore options for the future use of the site in the intervening period.” Newry and Mourne Council Director of Administration Eddy Curtis said the car park could be up and running as early as Friday. “I intend to have lighting installed in the car park by Thursday and if all goes well it will be open by Friday morning,” he said. “The space will be open as a car park for two years at which point it will be sold.”Newry councillor Valerie Harte welcomed the news following a meeting on the issue between the council, DSD and NCCM. “It is estimated that this car park at North Street will facilitate 115 parking spaces,” she said. “With the current level of parking problems  in the Newry area, I would encourage people to avail of this much needed parking facility which will go a long way to alleviate the current parking nightmare within the city.”


Newry Democrat

22nd January 2013