Car parking charges going up in Coleraine

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The cost of parking a car in the three main parks in Coleraine is to be increased from 40p an hour to 50p an hour - following a debate in Causeway Coast and Glens Council which lasted for TWO HOURS.

Members of the Environmental Services Committee met on Tuesday and were presented with a number of options after CC&G Council agreed last year to raise an additional £400,000 income from Council car parking as part of the rates setting process.

Consultation took place with various stakeholders including local Chambers of Commerce in all legacy council areas of Coleraine, Ballymoney, Ballycastle and Limavady.

On the same agenda that evening, TUV Cllr Sharon McKillop had tabled a notice of motion which read: “I propose that this Council takes a more sensible, holistic approach to car parking charges in the Borough and I call for this Council to do a strategic scoping exercise to identify opportunities that potentially exist to increase car parking spaces in Coleraine town centre with the goal of supporting businesses. Furthermore, that this Council works with DRD and other investors during this process.”

Committee chairman William King agreed to allow the motion and the officer’s report to be discussed together which lead to much confusion among members. There was lengthy debate over whether Cllr Kieran Mulholland’s proposal to defer a decision until a full ‘mapping exercise’ could be carried out throughout the Borough could actually be discussed or whether Cllr McKillop’s motion had to be dealt with first.

The confusion - over points of order, amendments to motions and seconders for proposals - carried on until Cllr Richard Holmes proposed an amendment to the motion to change “Coleraine town centre” to “where required” and then move on with discussing the officer’s car park charges report. This amendment was carried.

During the debate about whether to take a holistic approach to tariffs across the Borough or to look at areas individually, Cllr Sam Cole remarked: “This is one of the craziest meetings I have ever atteneded!”

Chairman William King added: “After one and a half hours, if you are parked anywhere at this time of night, it would need to be free!”

Cllr Joan Baird proposed the adoption of Option One which would see the following car park charges being introduced:

* increased charges at Mall, Abbey Street and Long Commons in Coleraine from 40p per hour to 60p per hour; Railway Place, Coeleraine, increase from 13p ph (three hours for 40p) to 20p ph; removal all instances of £1 for five hours and revert to original tariff and remove charging from Main Street, Limavady.

It is estimated that these changes would recoup approximately £418,000 annually.

Cllr Joan Baird made an amendment to her original proposal to drop the increase in tariff from 60p to 50p, saying that Coleraine seemed to be “suffering more”.

She said this should be an interim move until Council has an “holistic approach”.

The amendment was carried but will now have to be ratified by full Counciil later this month.