Parking fee plan will punish the innocent
The Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy, is to be congratulated on his announcement that resident only parking is to be implemented in parts of inner city Belfast.
Many groups and agencies have lobbied for two decades for the implementation of such a policy.
Indeed, Healthy Cities Belfast published a report back in 1992, written by a research unit at the University of Ulster, that recommended resident only parking for the Markets area.
The implementation of this policy is an example of the benefits of our local Assembly in action, and reports that have been gathering dust on shelves are having that dust blown away by politicians who want to see action on the ground after decades of sloth and lassitude. However, the proposal to ask people to pay for parking outside their front doors is punishing the innocent.
Commuters who drive into Belfast and park in the inner city significantly contribute to traffic congestion and the air pollution that damages the health of the residents of Belfast.
Many of these commuters come from affluent areas of the outer city or dormitory towns who do not have to pay to park outside their front doors or in their drives.
Thus, the victims of the pernicious act of all day commuter parking are being expected to pay for the anti-social activities of those who are probably in a higher social-economic category than those who suffer from their thoughtless activity.
It really doesn't seem fair that the innocent should be punished by being required to pay an annual fee to park outside their own front door.
Perhaps the fee should be applied to everyone who parks in the street anywhere in the city. Then there would be equity.
Alternatively, the inner city residents should not have to pay for the implementation of this excellent policy.
DR IRVINE LAVERY