Belfast Telegraph

Traders angry after minister rejects on-street parking plan

By Clare Weir

Traders in south Belfast have expressed disappointment after a proposal to relax parking outside shops was rejected.

Regional Development minister Danny Kennedy has rejected proposals to grant a 'tidal' clearway pilot on the Lisburn Road.

Local businesses say it would enable more passing motorists to stop and shop on the road, one of the most ticketed in Northern Ireland.

Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request, revealed a draft document recommending the pilot.

But just three months later the recommendation sent to the minister was amended to not grant the proposal.

The Lisburn Road Business Association (LRBA) and the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) have now met with Development Committee chair Jimmy Spratt MLA to discuss the problem.

LRBA chairman Peter Carrington said traders on the Lisburn Road are extremely frustrated.

"The clearways impact over 18% of every weekday trading period and customers are effectively forced off the road resulting in a damaging loss of business," he said. "The option of an experimental traffic control scheme is available.

"We urge that this option be reviewed and the scheme put in place on a trial basis.

"Measurement of traffic flow should be independently monitored before and during to ensure that the effects are accurately quantified."

NIIRTA chief executive Glyn Roberts added: "The help to local shoppers and visitors and the support this scheme would demonstrate to local businesses in the run up to Christmas would be fantastic.

"The Lisburn Road is not just the jewel in the crown of our independent retail sector it is also a major economic driver for Belfast. We need to see a greater joined up approach by local and regional government to address the problems on Belfast's arterial routes."

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