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Revealed: Worst road in Belfast for parking tickets - 2,195 fines handed out in one year

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 18/04/2016

More than 2,000 parking fines were handed out in a single year on one of Belfast's busiest shopping streets.

The Lisburn Road is the most ticketed street in Northern Ireland.

It topped a list of places in Belfast where commuters are most likely to be slapped with a fine.

Almost 35,000 penalties were dished out in a 12-month period across the city.

But it is the Lisburn Road where ticket-happy red coats are at their most prolific - hitting motorists at a rate of six a day.

In the 12 months to last April some 2,195 penalty charge notices (PCNs) were issued.

More tickets were handed out on the Lisburn Road than in the whole of Antrim, Newtownabbey and Larne put together.

It has led to claims that shoppers could be driven away from one of the city's most popular and fashionable thoroughfares.

"That level of parking tickets alarms me. It does seem to be excessive," said Glyn Roberts, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association.

"Nobody would disagree with the need for firm enforcement in terms of the regulations around parking.

"But the figures appear excessive, and consistently the Lisburn Road gets the highest density of tickets of any part of Belfast."

A total of 34,890 fixed penalty notices were handed out across Belfast city centre during 2014/15.

The most ticketed streets were:

  •  Lisburn Road (2,195 PCNs).
  • Chichester Street (1,988)
  •  Stranmillis Road (723).
  •  Adelaide Street (706).
  •  Wellington Place (647).

The figures were released by the Department for Regional Development after a Freedom of Information request.

It came after a motorist contacted this newspaper to say he had been ticketed seven times in just one month.

The angry driver said the spate of tickets was "diabolical".

The Department for Regional Development's TransportNI wing takes responsibility for the enforcement of most parking restrictions.

On-the-ground enforcement is provided by TransportNI's contractor, currently NSL Services Group, which employs the wardens.

Each parking ticket costs car owners £90 - or £45 if it is paid within 14 days.

The 34,890 PCNs dished out in Belfast were potentially worth up to £3.1m.

The city's streets were the most ticketed in Northern Ireland in 2014/15.

Just 7,884 tickets - less than a quarter of Belfast's total - were issued in Londonderry in the same 12-month period.

A further 6,034 were issued in Lisburn, 6,736 in Newry and 2,350 in Armagh.

Coleraine had 4,214 tickets, Ballymena saw 3,942, while Newtownards had 2,965.

Some 928 fines were issued in Larne, 827 in Antrim and 333 in Newtownabbey.

Traders on the Lisburn Road believe that the raft of tickets is driving customers away.

Laura Brown, who runs Arcadia Deli, said: "Historically there seems to be a disproportionate number of tickets issued on the Lisburn Road.

"It does have an impact on businesses, which are hard-pressed at the moment with retail being as it is.

"People often can't get parked, and when they do get parked the red coats are very quick to ticket them.

"It does become an issue and it does put people off."

Mr Roberts said enforcement officers needed to be more reasonable.

"The approach of the red coats has to be fair and proportionate," he added.

"We need a common sense approach - for example, asking for a car to be moved rather than just slapping a ticket on it."

This newspaper has previously reported how Belfast commuters have been hit with thousands of fines for driving in the city's bus lanes.

Since last June motorists who drive in the lanes face a £90 fine, reduced to £45 if paid within two weeks.

Last October the Telegraph disclosed that in the first three months a total of 21,772 fines were issued.

Based on the minimum £45 fine, that means that the cameras will have scooped at least £979,740.

That is double the £500,000 which officials had been expecting to recoup from fines in a typical year.

The Department for Regional Development declined to comment on the number of parking fines.

Belfast Telegraph

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