Residents’ parking concerns over flats proposal

Jim Kelley, chair of the Aberfoyle and Duncreggan Residents Association.
Jim Kelley, chair of the Aberfoyle and Duncreggan Residents Association.

Residents in the Aberfoyle and Duncreggan areas have expressed concerns that plans for a new flats complex will only add to the chronic parking problems on their doorsteps.

Letters of objections are now expected to submitted from residents across the area in connection with the application to demolish Earth Nightclub and Cole’s Bar on Strand Road and replace them with 23 one and two bedroom flats.

Local people have claimed that allowing the project to go ahead unamended, without any new parking provision for the new residents, will compound the a daily battle the face due to the volume of people parking outside their homes and often in an irresponsible manner.

The application for the flats complex has been lodged by Edenkeel Ltd and is still under consideration. Speaking to the Journal this week, many of the residents said they actually welcomed the change of use of the site from an entertainment complex to housing.

However Aberfoyle & Duncreggan Residents’ Association chair Jim Kelley said the parking element needed addressed.

In principal this looks fair enough, it’s a modern building more or less in line with what’s there, five floors, 23 flats. We wouldn’t object to it. But we are talking at least 35 additional cars here.“

He said residents have been facing issues in the area since Magee started charging for the use of its car park around 12 years ago, and have been campaigning for years for residents’ parking permits, even taking the matter to the Assembly.

“From October through to about now in may we get ordinary commuter traffic, people parking here, getting a bus or walking into town, but primarily we get staff and students,” he said.

“We have had no movement whatsoever. We have been literally banging our heads against a brick wall.”

Several residents have spoken of having problems being get out of their own driveways because of people parking right up next to the gate posts, restricting ability to manoeuvre or see at what is a busy through road, or even blocking them in completely, resulting in numerous collisions.

Mr Kelley said residents took issue with a section of the new planning application which claims there is “extensive” parking facilities in the area, including the areas they live on.

Fellow residents Larry McGeady, Teddy McGettigan and Danny McGeady also raised concerns.

Mr McGettigan said: “I’m delighted to even see it is changing to this from a nightclub, but without any parking there, we will have heavy parking here during the day and then when these new residents come home in the evening we will have them here and it will be continuously be full of cars, including at weekends and during the summer.”

Claire Casey, who cares for a relative at their home, added: “It’s very difficult as it is. When the doctor comes down he can’t get parked and the same with some of the nurses. It’s very awkward; you feel annoyed when they can’t get a space to park their car.”

It is understood that issues around parking have also been raised by Transport NI during consultation.