| 17.7°C Belfast

North coast businesses blast Causeway council car park charges

Close

Portrush bar manager Willie Gregg, who operates the Harbour Bar, said the cancellation of the air show following the cut to its grant was bad news for traders in the town

Portrush bar manager Willie Gregg, who operates the Harbour Bar, said the cancellation of the air show following the cut to its grant was bad news for traders in the town

Portrush bar manager Willie Gregg, who operates the Harbour Bar, said the cancellation of the air show following the cut to its grant was bad news for traders in the town

Business owners on the north coast have said they are concerned about the impact of measures taken to address the £71.1m debt facing Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

Domestic rates are to go up by 7.65%, while the council is also cutting £240,000 in grant funding to the annual Portrush air show, and closing the town's Waterworld attraction.

Car park charges are also to be introduced at some locations in the Causeway Coast and Glens council area as part of a drive to find £2.5m in savings.

The non-domestic district rate factor will rise by 0.01%.

An increase in the regional rate which will apply across Northern Ireland's council areas has yet to be announced.

Portrush bar manager Willie Gregg, who operates the Harbour Bar, said the cancellation of the air show following the cut to its grant was bad news for traders in the town.

"It is the final curtain of our summer season and brings an awful lot of people to Portrush itself. It's very much a family day out for everybody."

He said he was upset at the prospect of car parking charges in the town.

And he expressed his fears that the addition of such charges would have a knock-on effect.

"I am genuinely concerned about the effect they will have on businesses," he said.

He said a lot of parking spaces were occupied by "monstrous touring caravans", which he said took up the space of three cars in the car park.

"Maybe I'm living in a fool's paradise, but maybe there could be a touring caravan site in the town," he added.

Norman Hillis, a UUP councillor and the owner of a clothes shop in Portrush, said he was opposed to the car parking charges.

"I think they will have a really detrimental effect on the town. I have been vehemently opposed to what I regard as a tax on leisure which will put people off coming into Portrush.

"You'll also find that people will circulate around the town until they can find somewhere that's free to park, and that's going to cause congestion.

"Really, car parking charges are just a tax on tourism."

Belfast Telegraph