Belfast Telegraph

14,000 parking tickets issued at penalty hotspots in Northern Ireland in three months

 

By Eamon Sweeney

More than 14,000 parking tickets were issued in just 12 weeks at four Northern Ireland penalty hotspots.

Belfast led the way with 11,617 tickets being doled out in the three-month period between July and September this year.

In second place was the Mid and East Antrim Council area where 1,053 tickets were handed out. Church Street in Antrim was identified as the place where motorists would most likely get a ticket.

Next in line was Ards and North Down area, where 904 tickets were handed out. Vehicles were most likely to be ticketed at Hibernia Street North car park and Holywood respectively.

In fourth place was Mid-Ulster, where Rainey Street in Magherafelt was pinpointed as the main ticket hotspot.

In that area overall, 634 fines were handed down in the three-month period.

A parking ticket costs £90. However, if paid within 14 days, a 50% discount is applied and the penalty is reduced to £45.

The figures were obtained after a Freedom of Information request by price comparison company website comparethemarket.com.

Simon McCulloch, director at comparethemarket.com, warned drivers to be wary. "Our parking fines hotspots have revealed that motorists need to be extra vigilant when it comes to something as simple as parking their vehicle correctly if they want to avoid a hefty fine," he said. "With Christmas on the horizon, £90 would go further in a gift for a loved one than it would in a parking ticket. Penalty Charge Notices can be issued for a number of reasons.

"It can be quite simply for parking somewhere you shouldn't, failing to show a valid parking ticket, or displaying an expired ticket.

"Other offences include breaking traffic rules, such as going against a 'no right turn' sign or driving in a bus lane.

"The cost of driving is getting more and more expensive, without having to face any extra, unexpected costs like a parking fine.

"As we embark on the festive period and face unfamiliar roads to visit friends and family, motorists should pay close attention - street signs can often be discreet and easy to miss, but the information should be clearly stated, and parking payment meters never too far away.

"If you do find yourself with a PCN, it's worth checking your ticket as you can often reduce the fee by half simply by paying it within seven or 14 days, depending on your local council."

Yesterday this newspaper reported how more than 30% of on-street car parking tickets issued to cars from the Republic of Ireland remain unpaid.

Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton obtained the figures from the Department for Infrastructure.

She said she intended to question officials on how they follow-up on fines issued to vehicles registered south of the border.

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