No thirty minutes grace in Buncrana

One of the 33 parking meters in Buncrana. (1301PG70)
One of the 33 parking meters in Buncrana. (1301PG70)

Buncrana Town Council have said they cannot allow a grace period of thirty minutes for pay-and-display parking in the town as it would result in the loss of too much revenue.

In a question brought before Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the council, Ciaran McLaughlin told the officials local business men and women were looking for half an hour free,

The Sinn Fein councillor claimed motorists and shoppers in the town should be given the half an hour free, similar to the grace period allowed in Letterkenny. He said this could help boost business in the town.

However, the Buncrana man was told to do this would conflict with a current by-law and would not work in the same manner as the scheme in Letterkenny.

Town Mayor Cllr Nicholas Crossan said: “This was brought up before and it was explained 60% of people park for less than half and hour. To do this we would have to change the whole by-law, so at the present time, the answer to that question is no.”

Town Engineer Donal Walker explained further why Donegal’s largest town was different to Buncrana.

“Letterkenny recently advertised a 30-minute grace period. Up until now their revenue was 70% of what our’s was. Through hard work they have improved this and from a budget perspective their 30 minutes have been absorbed and their income is still up.”

He explained despite having four times as many spaces as Buncrana, Letterkenny had had less income from pay-and-display than the Inishowen town before their income had increased.

“We have to bear in mind while there is no official grace period, wardens take note and move on before coming back to a vehicle. The logistics of what they do takes ten minutes, allowing people to go and get their ticket or change from a shop.”

It was revealed the total loss of income to the council if the 30 minute grace period was put in place would be over 90,000 euro – including over 48,000 euro for a new traffic warden – and that commercial rates would have to be increased by 1% to cover this.

The Officials agreed to bring the matter up with the Chamber of Commerce in Buncrana, but added they “did not want to give false hope”.

Town Clerk Seamus Canning added: “It should be noted, pay and display parking came in, in 2007, at the request of the Chamber.”