Concerns have been raised over the behaviour of parking wardens in Derry, around short-stay bays outside local businesses.
One local man claimed he would think twice about going into town after his own experience. He also warned that this was a common occurrence and was bound to be impacting on small firms in the lower city centre area.
The local man said he had taken his son to get some food after school, but just after alighting from his car, his attention was drawn to an attendant at his vehicle.
He said: “I just think it has got ridiculous with traffic wardens waiting to pounce just like lurkers, at a time when small businesses are trying to survive.” He said the attendant was there within 30 seconds. He asked what the warden was doing and was told; ‘I have you on the timer’”. The DRD told the Journal this was standard in the circumstances.
The man said he believed the attendant was writing out a ticket, adding that his experience “would put me off going into town”. He added that while he understood the need to tackle those parked on double yellow lines and in disabled parking bays, there was no need for traffic wardens “standing like lurkers” .
The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Association (NIIRTA) have said their members locally and elsewhere have raised similar concerns over “unreasonable” decisions from red coats.
Glyn Roberts, chief executive of NIIRTA, said: “We would urge them to show a bit of flexibility and common sense if there is an opportunity to move a car on without a ticket.”
A spokeswoman for the Department for Regional Development said: “The concession to load/ unload/ alight vehicles is permitted on yellow lines that are not at a junction or where a loading ban is in place and an observation period is applied to allow Traffic Attendants time to establish if any of these concessions are being availed of.
“If TAs on patrol encounter a vehicle parked on double or single yellow lines then they remain at the vehicle and commence an observation period to establish if any loading/ unloading/alighting is pending. They do this by entering the vehicle registration number in to their hand-held computer which in turn triggers an automated countdown – 5 minutes for cars and 10 minutes for commercial vehicles.”