Residents parking around Magee will only be considered after lessons from Holylands appraised

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The potential development of a residents’ parking scheme for the Rosemount, Glen and Strand areas around Magee will only be considered once lessons learned from a scheme in the Holylands in Belfast are appraised.

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd told Foyle MLA Mark H. Durkan he acknowledged the existence of parking issues around Derry’s Ulster University campus after Mr. Durkan asked him if he would consider a scheme in the area.

Mr. O’Dowd said: “I am aware of the concerns about parking in residential areas in the vicinity of colleges and universities such as the Magee campus of Ulster University.”

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But he said any decision would await the full consideration of a recently completed review of a scheme in the Holylands area off the Lower Ormeau Road in South Belfast.

Cars lining the street along narrow Aberfoyle Crescent South last October.Cars lining the street along narrow Aberfoyle Crescent South last October.
Cars lining the street along narrow Aberfoyle Crescent South last October.

"A review of residents' parking schemes that includes lessons learned from the Rugby Road scheme in the vicinity of Queen's University Belfast has been completed.

"The review will be used to establish the policy for such schemes going forward. Reports will be published when I have had the opportunity to fully consider the findings of the review,” he said.

Mr. Durkan, who is the SDLP infrastructure spokesperson, asked the minister about a long-mooted residents’ parking scheme in the Bogside.

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“I understood that no scheme in Derry would be progressed until the scheme in the Bogside had been progressed. Parking in the area continues to be a problem; in fact, it becomes more so.

"Does the Minister agree that it is unwise and unfair to delay progress on any and all residents' parking schemes because of difficulties in progressing the scheme in the Bogside?” asked the Foyle MLA.

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Mr. O’Dowd said he did not believe all parking schemes had to be paused until the completion of one in the Bogside but that he was happy to be corrected later by his officials if necessary.

But Mr. O’Dowd cautioned that such schemes were often more complex than imagined and that there could be costs for the Department of Infrastructure.

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“My position on residents' parking schemes is that we have to move forward with best practice. While they may seem, on the face of it, to be a good idea — in many instances, they are a good idea — there are associated costs for my Department and, possibly, for residents.

"There are considerations such as how you lay out the scheme and how many cars per house are allowed to park. It is not as simple a proposal as it sounds at the outset, but there are lessons to be learned from the review, and I commit to the Member that I will respond to that in due course,” said Mr. O’Dowd.

Last October residents living in Aberfoyle told the ‘Journal’ that carers and emergency services were struggling to access their streets because they had ‘become car parks since the start of the university term’.

Jim Kelley, chair of the Aberfoyle & Duncreggan Residents' Association, said cars had been damaged and elderly people and young mothers forced onto the road because of illegal parking.

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