R ESIDENTS living in the Barrack Street area of West Belfast just yards from the city centre have called on the Department for Regional Development’s Road Service division to get busy on its plans for a residents’ parking scheme in the area.
The call comes after Roads Service revealed that draft plans to introduce a residents-only parking scheme in the Stranmillis and Lower Malone area of South Belfast have reached an advanced stage, with further plans to re-engage with residents in the Sandy Row and Donegall Pass areas on parking schemes for their areas.
The four South Belfast areas were included in five city centre residential spots, along with Barrack Street, that were included in draft consultation plans for a residential parking scheme to ease problems with rat-running and all-day commuter parking.
However, Barrack Street man Sean Fryers, Chairperson of the local St Mary’s Residents’ Association, says residents are concerned that no progress has been made on putting in place a parking scheme that would put a stop to the bustling residential area being used as a free car park.
“We’ve always said that we badly need a residents parking scheme as commuter parking in this area is atrocious,” said Sean. “But any scheme brought in has to be agreed upon by the residents. The initial consultation for a parking scheme began in 2009. In 2010 Roads Service gave us initial proposals that would see an £80 payment for a year’s resident’s parking permit, which we were not happy with. The plans also allowed for 20 pay-and-display parking meters, at 30 pence per-half hour, situated along College Street. That works out cheaper than some local car parks near here. This would mean that even with a permit we would still not get parked.”
After consulting with their members, the St Mary’s Residents’ Association drew up their own parking scheme proposals – which would see one free resident’s permit and two free visitor’s permits for every home with a car in the designated controlled parking zone – and submitted them to Roads Service for feedback. However residents say they were told there would be no change to the Roads Service proposals.
“There’s no flexibility with Roads Service,” said Sean. “We’re concerned that the scheme the department is now planning to bring in in Lower Malone and Stranmillis is the scheme that Barrack Street residents did not agree upon.
“If it is this scheme it does not address the residents’ demands. Roads Service need to consult with us to make the changes suit before any scheme is brought in,” he added.
A spokesperson for DRD Roads Service said officials had “met with local representatives from the Barrack Street area on several occasions and are still awaiting feedback from them to allow a scheme in that area to progress.”
“An outline residents’ parking scheme has not been agreed with the local community to date,” said the spokesperson.