Belfast Telegraph

Roads Minister hears parking woes

By Bob Malcolm

ROADS Minister Danny Kennedy visited Ballyhackamore yesterday (September 25) at the behest of the Alliance Party to see first-hand the need for better parking in the area for traders and residents.

He said afterwards that he would give due consideration to the needs of both the local residents and the businesses when looking at what changes could be made.

He met with Alliance MP Naomi Long at various locations to discuss the different issues.

The visit included a trip to the Earlswood Road, where they discussed residents' parking concerns and then to the Belmont Church Road, where traffic concerns were addressed.

At Corries Butchers, 380 Upper Newtownards Road, the minister next heard the concerns of local traders and at Pasadena Gardens, he discussed residents' access to parking, along with other concerns.

Roads Minister Danny Kennedy said: "We were at a few different locations to look at parking issues in and around the Ballyhackamore area affecting businesses and residents."

He said any measures would need to finely balance between the needs of residents and businesses and that therein lay the challenge.

"Residents are concerned about parking close to their properties and against that there seems to be a successful business community that has need for more parking.

"We will give further consideration to what measures can be taken," he added.

East Belfast MP Naomi Long welcomed Roads Minister Danny Kennedy's commitment to review the parking situation in the area – an increasing problem.

Alliance MP Mrs Long said the Minister's walkabout – which came at her invitation – was a unique opportunity to show him personally the problems people living and working there have experienced for several years.

She said: "Ballyhackamore is a bustling shopping area with a great mix of shops, businesses and a bustling night-time economy."

All of this, said Mrs Long, was much valued by the residents who lived there.

It had, however, subsequently combined their needs and those of commuters and the number of nearby schools to create a "pressurised parking system where everyone's needs have to be balanced."

Mrs Long said that she was delighted the minister had agreed to "review how to address these issues in a speedy manner."

This, she said, would hopefully lead to the elimination of the difficulties seen so regularly in the vicinity.

"The Ballyhackamore area is a great example of what East Belfast can be – with a wonderful collection of shops, amenities and residents," she said.

"But it is crucial all are able to operate side-by-side in a way that not only up-keeps the vibrancy and attractiveness of the place, but also manages the expectations of all users."

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