Early evening parking charges in Newry City Centre were suspended from Monday in a bid to boost pre-Christmas trade. Minister for Regional Development Danny Kennedy has suspended parking charges in three cities including Newry from 4.30pm Monday to Friday and all day Saturday right up to Christmas. This is the first time the charges have been suspended outside of Belfast’s city centre for the Christmas shopping period. This means that shoppers will be able to park for free within parking zones from 4.30pm onwards on weekdays and on Saturdays. The two hour maximum time limit will still apply. Chief Executive of Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade Orla Jackson said the suspension of charges would provide a welcome attraction to traders and shoppers but called on proper maintenance of the festive parking goodwill to ensure the system is not abused. “Newry Chamber would welcome this move by DRD,” Ms Jackson said. “Anything that encourages a greater number of shoppers to the city centre is a good thing. We would be very keen that the department and Roads Service maintain the two hour maximum stay to allow a steady turnover of traffic.” Minister Danny Kennedy who is an MLA for Newry and Armagh said he hope the decision would provide a boost for the Christmas period particularly in cities like Newry who have on street parking charges while other towns enjoy free parking all year. The minister has already postponed introducing charges to 30 towns across the North earlier this year. “Parking enforcement and charged parking is an effective method of controlling traffic in city centres and parking enforcement staff will closely monitor the scheme to sure it is not counter productive to traffic flow,” the minister added.
7th December 2011