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Council facing pressure to open North Street site

Newry and Mourne are facing increasing pressure from retailers to open the former North Street flats site as a temporary car park after the Department of Social Development (DSD) said they have asked the council to open it all year round. Currently DSD owned the site is opened only at Christmas to accommodate shoppers but traders have called for it to be open throughout the year to free up city centre parking. During a ‘High Street Meeting’ held by DSD in Newry last month a number of traders voiced concerned voiced concerns about customers moving to out of town shopping centres because of a lack of parking in the city centre. Long term plans for the site are to be developed as part of the Newry City Centre Masterplan but traders have requested that it is opened on a temporary basis. Speaking at the meeting Jack Murphy said: “Opening up North Street would soak up a lot of cars belonging to people employed in the area and would leave the main streets and car parks free for shoppers to use. The Department promises the world and doesn’t deliver and traders are fed up with it.” A DSD spokesperson said they have taken on board retailers’ concerns and have asked the council to consider the proposal: “In the past DSD has agreed to requests from DRD to open the site as a temporary car park at Christmas and from Newry and Mourne District Council to accommodate  additional visitors to the city for special events. While plans for this site have developed the Department is willing to consider any requests from DRD or Council to open the site as temporary car park to accommodate shoppers throughout the year subject to them accepting liability for the site. Following on from the High Street meeting in Newry on May 31 a DSD official approached Newry and Mourne District Council to ask them to consider proposals from traders that the North Street flats is opened as a temporary car park. In considering this matter the council will explore all relevant issues in terms of  management, access, liability, insurance etc.


Newry Democrat

19th June 2012