No free festive parking for Derry

The switch is flicked on  Derry's Christmas lights on Thursday night.
The switch is flicked on Derry's Christmas lights on Thursday night.

Derry & Strabane Council has confirmed it has “no plans” to mirror the decision by Belfast City Council to introduce free weekend and evening parking in the run up to Christmas.

The Council confirmed it has no plans to alter the current tariffs pending an ongoing review on parking and charges across all its car parks , and consultation on which is expected to last into the New Year.

The Council has already faced criticism in recent weeks for reintroducing Sunday parking charges for November and December.

The new supercouncils inherited responsibility for car parks from the Department for Regional Development when the local authorities came into being in April this year.

Belfast City Council this week revealed it was making all its charged car parks free to use in evenings and at weekends in the run-up to Christmas from today (Friday). This equates to 1,500 free parking spaces at 17 off-street car parks across the city.

The free parking runs from after 6pm Monday to Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday, with a further 105 spaces being made available at the council’s own staff car park at weekends. The free parking offer will run until January 3.

Councillor Declan Boyle, Chair of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee said: “This initiative will hopefully encourage visitors will stay on for longer and enjoy more of what Belfast has to offer this Christmas, whether they’re shopping locally or travelling to the city from elsewhere.”

When asked if the local authority planned to introduce a similar move for Derry, a spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed that “there are currently no plans to alter the current off-street car parking pricing structure until a full review of the facilities has been carried out”.

She added: “A paper detailing local off-street car parking tariffs will be brought before the next Business and Culture Committee meeting for consideration.

“Members will have the opportunity to express their views on parking facilities across Derry and Strabane and this will be followed by a consultation period during which the current system, inherited from the DRD, will be fully reviewed.

“This consultation will inform the restructuring of parking tariffs across the district.”