Call for ‘flexibility’ on parking tickets

Parking tickets
Parking tickets

A Carrickfergus councillor has urged traffic attendants to exercise a more “flexible approach” to lapsed parking tickets.

The suggestion was made by Councillor John Stewart at Monday night’s meeting of the Operational Committee following a report on off-street car parking within the borough.

Some 27 off-street car parks have been transferred to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council under the Off-Street Parking (Functions of District Councils) Act 2015.

Cllr Stewart said: “At the moment I understand that if a ticket is expired by a minute or less and a penalty notice has been issued, then the person can appeal that.

“There are people who do go out of their way to pay for a parking ticket and then, through no fault of their own, have inadvertently gone over their time.

“If we are taking on responsibility for car parking, we could have a more flexible approach for anything up to 15 minutes.”

Responding to the suggestion, director of operations Philip Thompson indicated that the current contract for supplying traffic attendants in the area was due to expire in 2016.

“We can look at building [greater flexibility] into a future contract,” he added.

Members were also reminded of an agreement reached at the March council meeting on maintaining the £1 for five hours car parking charges.

The move means Mid and East Antrim income is projected to be reduced by £37,510.

“We need to be looking at other enhancements to attract people into the town centres,” said Larne Lough councillor Greg McKeen.

Meanwhile, figures released by the Department of Regional Development last week showed an increase in penalty charge notices (PCNs)in the Carrickfergus area during 2014.

Local residents received 1,333 PCNs in 2014, an increase of 395 from 2013.

The number of PCNs handed out in Whitehead increased slightly from four to nine.