Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Talks to begin on residents’ parking

Commuter parking in the Markets (Photo by Brénna Walsh)

Plans are in the pipeline to tackle the long running problem of commuters parking close to private homes in the Markets area of south Belfast.

And residents in the lower Malone are to have a greater say in the development of parking schemes for their streets.

The Department of Regional Development (DRD) confirmed on Monday that Minister Conor Murphy had given the green light for talks to begin.

Said a spokesperson: “The minister has agreed that Roads Service should engage with a number of local communities in south Belfast with a view to getting schemes delivered.”

In a previous round of negotiations, residents in the Markets were unhappy with the wording of of a document on the issue of commuter parking, drawn up by the DRD after consultation.

But they wholeheartedly welcome this second chance to sit round the table and talk once again.

Markets Development Association community worker Gerard Davison said they were determined to sort out the issue once and for all.

“In the past we rejected a document drawn up by the DRD because we felt some of the wording could easily have been misinterpreted,” he explained

“But we are going to make sure this doesn’t happen again and we are very clear about what we want this scheme to achieve.

“We need to make it work because buildings are popping up around us all the time, attracting more and more motorists looking for parking spaces.

“This could all be avoided with the implementation of a scheme to provide residents with their own free parking permits.

“The community is very upbeat at the minute about this latest news.

“Cars often begin parking here at 6am and don’t leave until 6pm or later.

“We welcome the chance to sit down with DRD representatives and discuss proposals.”

Said the DRD spokesperson: “Roads Service was disappointed that the response to the earlier consultation was not as positive as we had hoped for, particularly given community support is critical for the success of schemes.

“We understand there may now be sufficient support from within the community to allow us to proceed.”

The Lower Malone Residents’ Association also welcomed the prospect of more efficient parking in their area, saying they were “delighted by the news”.

Assistant secretary Sylvia Roberts said the need for parking control was widely acknowledged.

“We look forward to working closely with Roads Service to design a scheme that will meet the needs of the residents and the office owners in our area,” she continued.

“Permit parking has been commonplace in most major cities for many years with residents in these areas reporting a high degree of satisfaction with the resulting control of parking.”

Local MLA Alex Maskey explained that he has regularly joined with south Belfast residents and community groups to lobby Mr Murphy regarding the street parking situation.

“The minister has constantly reiterated his wish to resolve this issue to the satisfaction of local residents and has dedicated much time to this,” he said.

“I am particularly glad that he has responded positively to our representations in relation to the residents’ parking scheme proposed for the Markets area of Belfast and on the parking management issues in the lower Malone area, particularly Beechlands, Cadogan Park and Adelaide Park.

“The work to date that he has done in trying to provide schemes for these areas is to be welcomed.

“In this latest correspondence he has made it clear that the basis exists for such schemes in the Markets area and the lower Malone areas to be implemented.

“I would welcome the minister’s commitment to meeting the needs of the people of south Belfast.”

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