Downpatrick’s Councillor Cadogan Enright has slammed DARD’s proposals to install parking meters in the Town as “a short-sighted and ill-conceived raid on struggling High Streets to fund the department with no local benefits”.
Cadogan Enright pointed out “What is particularly frustrating is that the £37.7 million that the DRD hopes to raise in 5 years is set to plug holes in central government, not to benefit Downpatrick or other local towns in any way. If these proposals had any legitimacy, the funds raised in each town would be ring-fenced for that town to improve road quality, to widen pedestrian access, to revise and improve town traffic management or to provide extra parking spaces in strategic locations.”
Cadogan Asked, “Where is the sense in milking our struggling Town Centre and High Streets in 30 other towns across the North as a route to raise central government funds? The money-grabbing mentality of this proposal is highlighted by the proposal that parking fines may increase to £90. This policy actually encourages people to leave their locality and opt for the free or discounted car-parking facilities provided by large multinational supermarkets. This policy is a slap in the face to those who are trying to ensure that the centre of Market Towns in N.I. do not become ghost towns like many parts of England.”
‘A better approach would be to consult with each town on its individual needs and its geographical realities before applying a broad brush, one-size-fits-all approach. Downpatrick is a town with unique heritage and we are working locally in our ‘Realm Committee’ to ensure that issues like congestion and under-development are dealt with. Downpatrick also benefits from a varied central shopping area with many independent traders. Traffic management is an issue that is indelibly interwoven with the overarching business and tourist strategy of the town and should be dealt with by way of open consultation; not draconian top down legislation,” said Cadogan Enright.
“If I am elected on the 5th May I will fight this proposal and ensure that parking and retail development in Downpatrick is managed for the benefit of local people, not central government coffers” Concluded Cllr Cadogan Enright.