TUV East Londonderry candidate Jordan Armstrong is calling on Causeway Coast and Glens Council to scrap the car park price hike in Coleraine.
“The decline in town centres across Northern Ireland deeply concerns TUV,” said Mr Armstrong.
“Once bustling high streets and their remaining businesses are now struggling to survive. Increasing parking charges will only add to the difficulties traders face.
“Some traders have quite rightly expressed their concerns about how this increase will impact upon their trade.
“One local trader commented that if the Council puts up the car park charges in the town centre they might as well roll a red carpet with an arrow on it pointing to the Riverside Retail Park.
“Looking a parking ticket figures, Coleraine have been hit heavy, last year totalling 4,000. Dungiven have received zero parking tickets, whilst Coalisland have enjoyed no parking tickets for five successive years.
“The new hike in parking charges in Coleraine will only add to the pressure local traders are already under. Crippling rates have been a major contributor to decline. It is imperative to increase town footfall, not discourage it.
“Many people question why they should pay to shop in town centres while out of town developments they can park for free.
“Just recently, Limavady had car parking charges scraped, therefore I believe it’s only fair that all town centres within this council area receive the same parity across the borough. This will enable a fair playing field for all traders.
“A more sensible approach to parking charges is crucial. I would also call for the council to do a strategic scoping exercise to identify opportunities that potentially exist to increase car parking spaces in Coleraine with the goal of supporting businesses.
“I strongly recommend that Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council scrap this new charge and introduce a pricing system that will encourage more footfall, allow shoppers time to shop and enjoy their experience in their town.”