A council committee is proposing a radical shake up in car parking in Coleraine.
Members of the Environmental Services Committee at Causeway Coast and Glens Council considered five options at an in-committee meeting at Cloonavin last Tuesday evening.
A report to councillors considered renewing or not renewing the Terrace Row car park lease; utilising the Market Yard as a car park and events space; and to consider Waterside car park as an alternative to Terrace Row.
The committee proposed that the 135-space Terrace Row car park - where parking is currently free - should become a fee paying car park. The car park’s lease was transferred to Council from Transport NI in April last year.
The proposal also includes plans for motorists to be able to park free at the fee-paying Waterside car park. Waterside has, at present, only a 38 percent occupancy rate with motorists preferring to use car parks in the town centre. It has 201 spaces with 125 spaces being left unused each day.
Additional car parking spaces in the town centre are to be made available at the currently defunct Market Yard at New Market Street.
The committee is proposing to finally open this up to the public with a paid for car park to operate alongside a multi-purpose area, possibly for events.
The yard was closed in 1986 as an animal market and has not been used for several years.
Councillors agreed that the fifth option - that the Terrace Row lease be terminated, Waterside car park be converted to free parking and the Market Yard be used for parking and an events space - should go to full Council for decision.
“This represents the most financially beneficial option for Council, whilst maintaining the existing level of free parking within Coleraine,” the report to councillors said.
It’s understood that there have been a number of complaints from residents at Beresford Avenue and Mount Street about motorists parking on those streets.
PUP councillor Russell Watton, who chaired the meeting and voted against the proposals - commented that the recommended option would not be popular with the public.
“A lot of people use Terrace Row - particularly people coming from Mountsandel. It’s free and it’s hard to get a space there.
“I believe there should be two free car parks in the town - one at Waterside and the other at Terrace Row.
“I spoke with at least ten people at Terrace Row on Monday morning and they were not happy with the council’s plans.”