Strangford MLA Mike Nesbitt has said he is hopeful that his Ulster Unionist Party Colleague and Roads Minister, Danny Kennedy, could repeat the successful five hours for a pound offer that ran over the Christmas period.
In an Assembly question to the Minister, Mr Nesbitt asked: ‘Given the minister’s huge success with his car parking charge freeze, his five hours for a pound Christmas promotion and his permitting local councils to sponsor free parking days, and the contribution these initiatives have made to local retail, will he undertake to pursue other business friendly opportunities in the run up to car parks transferring to councils in 2015?’
The Roads Minister has said: ‘We are looking at the analysis of 5 Hours for a pound to see whether there are ways that we can further implement it. He will know that I did not implement the on-street car parking charges that were advocated by my predecessor. We successfully argued and won a moratorium on car parking charges. He will know also of the downward trend of car parking fines and our attempts to link in with councils to sponsor free parking days’
The Ulster Unionist Leader said: ‘In towns like Newtownards and Ballynahinch reasonably priced car parking is a great tool to boost local businesses in their mission to lure shoppers away from the multi-nationals. The Minister and I are keen to see reduced parking tariffs and offers wherever possible, I am delighted to say the Minister is not to be found wanting in this regard.
Ulster Unionist prospective Council Candidate for Newtownards, Richard Smart, said: “I feel Newtownards is somewhat of a rare breed in the shopping arena due to the high quality of the long standing retailers so many people are loyal to.
“I see parking as a significant factor in how regional and local government can help local business. It’s fantastic to see the priority my Party Leader and Roads Minister have given this task and if I receive a mandate from the people I will not be slow to pick up the gauntlet”