CAR PARKING BOOST
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
MOTORISTS have cause to celebrate this week as one of the most frustrating aspects of driving in Newry is to be eased.
Parking in the city has long been a problem, whether it's to do with the cost, the lack of spaces or people parking where they shouldn't.
All those problems could be lessened by Friday, however, when a new, free car park opens in the city.
The space of land in the North Street Flats area of the city, which is owned by the Department of Social Development (DSD), sits unused for most of the year.
It's briefly opened over Christmas as a temporary car park but quickly blocked off again when the flow of festive shoppers dries up.
However, City Centre Management has brokered a deal with DSD that will see the area opened as a free car park as early as this Friday.
A DSD spokesman said the new facility should offset any loss of parking caused by the redevelopment of the Quay area of the city.
"DSD is delighted to be able to support the Newry City Centre Management's (NCCM) decision to provide additional car parking spaces in North Street for local workers and visitors to Newry over the next two years," he said.
"The opening of this site as a car park in conjunction with the proposed opening of Corry Square will provide an estimated 250 additional car parking spaces in the city centre, more than offsetting any loss in car parking along the Quay.
“The Department will continue to explore options for future use of the site in the intervening period."
Newry and Mourne Council Director of Administrations Eddy Curtis said the car park could be up and running as early as Friday.
“I intend to have lighting installed in the car park by Thursday and if all goes well it will be open by Friday morning," he said.
“The space will be open as a car park for two years at which point it will be sold."
Newry councillor Valerie Harte welcomed the news following a meeting on the issue between the council, DSD and NCCM.
“It is estimated that this car park at North Street will facilitate 115 parking spaces," she said.
“With the current level of parking problems in the Newry area, I would encourage people to avail of this much needed parking facility which will go a long way to alleviate the current parking nightmare within the city."
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