All day parkers causing problems for residents

Newtownards people angry at ongoing parking issues

By Sarah Curran

A NEWTOWNARDS man says he is ‘fed up’ with irresponsible motorists blocking residential parking.

Since moving to Mill Street Court five years ago, Robert Burns has faced difficulties with parking within his own cul-de-sac.

He says this is because motorists are parking in the residential area daily to attend their places of work, leaving residents unable to get parked near their homes.

The 69 year-old believes the culprits are Ards and North Down Council employees and South Eastern Trust workers who don’t wish to pay for nearby parking.

Mr Burns recalled how in the past, irresponsible motorists, using the area as a car park, had actually caused damage to his own car but failed to leave behind any details to follow-up.

“There are some days I can’t get parked here in my own cul-de-sac,” Mr Burns stated.

He added that the parking issues spilled onto Mill Street, towards the roundabout, where people are abandoning their vehicles on the footpaths, blocking access to pedestrians.

Mr Burns said: “People with buggies and disabled people can’t get past the cars. My next door neighbour, who is partially sighted, has nearly been knocked down a couple of times at the roundabout.”

The pensioner continued that he believed the road leading to the roundabout needed double yellow lines to prevent obstructive parking and that ‘resident only’ parking signs needed to be erected in his residential cul-de-sac.

Mr Burns said he contacted the DUP office, who phoned the PSNI on his behalf about the issue, but nothing had been done to stop the irresponsible parking.

He also contacted the UUP office, who contacted the Housing Executive about the issue and was told that they would erect no parking signs, however this has yet to be done.

“I don’t think people want to be bothered,” he said.

Mr Burns concluded: “I’m just a bit fed up. I don’t have a problem with people parking if it’s just going to be a couple of hours but they are parking there for the whole working day and taking up spaces where residents should be parking, meaning residents can’t get parked.”

A Housing Executive spokesperson said: “After discussing the tenant’s concerns it was agreed that signage discouraging parking will be put in place. These signs will be erected in due course.”

A South Eastern Trust spokesperson said they offered free off-site parking options for non-permitted staff and added that the trust ‘regularly’ appealed to their staff to not park in areas that could difficulties for their ‘local neighbours’.

The spokesperson continued: “We have an established Ards multi-agency forum which examines the Trust’s parking infrastructure both on and off-site at the Ards Hospital. It also aims to reduce the over-reliance on single occupancy vehicles in the community.

“These forums are attended by the Department for Infrastructure, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Translink and elected representatives.

The issue raised will be added as an agenda item for discussion at the next meeting.”

Ards and North Down Borough Council was contacted about the parking issues, and stated that any requests for double yellow lines or car parking signage would have to be requested through the Department for Infrastructure.

It added that any instances of ‘unsafe or illegal parking should be reported to the PSNI’.