Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Parking tickets add sour note to big day

Spectators at pipe band contest are booked

While the bands played inside, parking attendants were busy outside.

While the bands played inside, parking attendants were busy outside.

THE sun shone on the thousands of spectators who flocked to the European Pipe Band championships at the Lagan Valley Leisureplex on Saturday, but when some people returned to their cars the day hit a sour note. For they had been hit with parking tickets.

The penalty charge notices, which have provoked a chorus of complaints led by the Mayor Councillor Ronnie Crawford, were all placed on vehicles in the Governors Road area.

Mr. Crawford, who expressed disappointment at the actions of the Parking Attendants, said he had received phone calls from irate people across a wide area who found the notices on their cars. He explained the number of people attending the event had exceeded all expectations and people had been unable to find spaces in the car parks provided despite the fact St. Paul's Church also allowed its car park to be used.

Councillor Allan Ewart, Chairman of the City Council's Economic Development Committee, said visitors from all over Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and Europe had been 'very disillusioned' by the issuing of the tickets.

He said he had contacted the Department for Regional Development but they said they were unable to assist as they were not aware the event was taking place.

"The powers that be should have instructed the attendants to use discretion in these cases, as those who parked on the grass area were not causing any disruption to anyone or causing any traffic problems," he added.

"To say I am outraged and disgusted is putting it mildly. Where has common sense gone or is there more interest in getting quotas rather than helping to boost the number of visitors and help the hard pressed businesses in Lisburn during this difficult economic period."

Councillor David Archer said a number of people had approached him to complain about the parking tickets while the Championships were still taking place.

He said he had been told by NCP's Parking Enforcement Unit they had received no prior notification of the event.

"It is clear that in the future both the Council and the PSNI need to encourage the organisers to liaise with NCP officials at the earliest possible opportunity when they become aware of a major event taking place in the city centre," he added. "I will be speaking to the relevant officials in both organisations in an attempt to prevent any similar confusion in the future."

Total of 18 tickets issued says DRD

A SPOKESPERSON for the Department for Regional Development said a total of 18 parking tickets were issued in the Governors Road area last Saturday.

Nine were on vehicles parking in contravention of double yellow lines.The rest were issued within Governors Road Car Park. Eight were on vehicles parked outside the bay markings. The remaining ticket related to a vehicle where no pay and display ticket was in evidence.

"Traffic Attendants will enforce all parking restrictions in accordance with the relevant legislation" she said. "Traffic Attendants have no discretionary powers to grant exemptions to the restrictions other than those identified in the legislation.

"The primary objective of parking enforcement is to reduce the number of illegally parked vehicles, which in turn will reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and make roads more accessible for all users including pedestrians, public transport, emergency vehicles and blue badge holders. A suitable level of enforcement is therefore required to deter some motorists from parking illegally."

Ulster Star