ARDS councillor Simon Hamilton has expressed his “amazement” at the number of parking tickets issued in Newtownards.
In response to an Assembly question, Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy confirmed to Councillor Hamilton that between November 13, 2006, and November 22, 2007, a total of 3,627 parking tickets have been issued in Newtownards. The tickets equate to as much as over £100,000 in fines.
“There has been much controversy about the new parking enforcement regime since its inception this time last year,” Mr Hamilton said. “No one likes to get a parking ticket but all right thinking people recognise that there are places where you simply cannot park your vehicle whether for reasons of allowing better traffic flow, for road safety or to allow access for the disabled or deliveries.
“Despite the clear problems with parking in Newtownards, I am still amazed at the sheer volume of parking tickets issued in the town over the last year. I expected that the Minister would tell me that a high number of tickets had been handed out in Newtownards but I never expected as high a figure as 3,627.
“This averages out at nearly 10 tickets a day for each and every day of the last 12 months and, at a conservative estimate, using the £30 fine as a basis, would have raised £108,810 in revenue from fines.”
Mr Hamilton also expressed his ”surprise” at the ticket numbers for neighbouring Comber, Saintfield and Ballygowan.
In Comber, 128 tickets were issued, in Saintfield 93 tickets issued and in Ballygowan only five were issued.
He continued: “With illegal parking being an almost perennial problem in Comber and its narrow streets, are we seriously expected to believe that only 128 cars were illegally parked in Comber in the last year? Or that there were only five wrongly parked in Ballygowan?
“I would urge the NCP to investigate their utilisation of parking attendants in these towns. They certainly would seem to have the resources to do so given the amount of money they have taken from people in the area.”