Anger over ‘free’ RBP car parking

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A nationalist councillor has questioned why Limavady’s civic car parks were opened up ‘free’ to the public during the Royal Black Preceptory parade last weekend.

SDLP Colr. John Deighan said the decision is likely to have cost Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council revenue in lost parking tariffs.

Colr. Deighan’s eyebrows were raised when his council colleague, Aaron Callan, claimed credit for the ‘free’ parking on behalf of the DUP.

He said charging users the standard 40 pence per hour to use the 274 spaces in the Connell Street and Central car parks could have been a council moneyspinner.

“I am deeply concerned that protocol and processes appear to have been abandoned in relation to the decision by the Department of Infrastructure (DfI) to allow free car parking in Limavady for a band parade.

“The car parks in question are a vital revenue source for the council and the ratepayers of the borough should not be subsidising car parking for band parades,” he maintained.

However, Colr. Callan told the ‘Journal’ yesterday said he had merely passed on a public notice having received news from DfI that the car parks would be available.

“I would have thought that bringing people into the town on Saturday was a good thing,”he told the ‘Journal.’

DfI, meanwhile, said: “Local councils are responsible for deciding whether or not to suspend car parking fees (tariffs) in council off-street car parks. In this instance the car park tariffs were not suspended.

However, on advice from the PSNI, the Department took the decision not to deploy Traffic Attendants to Limavady that day because it would have been difficult to access the off-street car parks as vehicle movements in the town centre were heavily restricted throughout the day due to the RBP parade and as such parking enforcement was not feasible.”

A spokesman for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said: “Council had no knowledge of such an arrangement being made for the car parks that it controls.”