Belfast Telegraph

Cutbacks blamed for closure of Dundonald park and ride terminal - just six months after it opened

By Adrian Rutherford

A purpose-built park and ride terminal is being shut less than six months after opening because of cutbacks, it can be revealed.

The public waiting facility at Dundonald, which only opened in December, will close tomorrow.

A second building at Cairnshill park and ride in south Belfast is also shutting.

Security at the sites is being pulled as well, leaving vehicles at greater risk.

Ukip MLA David McNarry criticised the move, saying it defied economic logic.

"It is only a few months ago that the park and ride terminal opened at Dundonald at considerable expense," he said. "Why build something and then close it a few months later? It is absolutely disgraceful."

The terminal opened in December last year. At the time Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy hailed it as an "excellent new facility".

A sign at the terminal confirms "security and guarding arrangements" will be suspended and the waiting facilities will close from tomorrow. The Department for Regional Development stressed the park and ride sites at Dundonald and Cairnshill would continue to operate.

However, security will be removed at the sites, and at two other sites at Blacks Road and Sprucefield. DRD said it had "no other option" but to make savings because of a £60m shortfall this year.

But Mr McNarry, a member of the Assembly's regional development committee, said: "It really defies economic logic.

"The people I have spoken to are very angry about it. There will be no waiting place for customers, there will be no shelter or toilets. Nor will there be security for the 500-plus cars which park in these places."

The Dundonald park and ride site forms part of the Belfast Rapid Transport system, which is scheduled to start in 2017.

A DRD spokeswoman blamed the terminal closures on budget pressures. She said: "These are not decisions that have been taken lightly but the impact of the budget is such that the department simply cannot spend money which it does not have."

Belfast Telegraph

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