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Mid and East Antrim Council Reverses Decision on Parking Fees

by | Feb 3, 2024

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has reversed its stance on the recently imposed car parking charges in Larne and Ballymena, following a confidential council meeting on Tuesday 30th January. The council has further decided against introducing parking fees at Castle Car Park in Carrickfergus, as stated in a formal announcement.

This policy change will see the cessation of charges at two car parks at Mount Street and Broughshane Street in Ballymena, alongside Circular Road East and Exchange Road in Larne.

In reaction to the council’s decision, Brian McRandal, Chairman of the Larne Business Forum, expressed the local business community’s approval: “On behalf of the local business community, I very much welcome the decision by local councillors to reintroduce free car parking at Exchange Road and Circular Road East car parks. This decision is both correct and courageous. Acknowledging a misstep can be challenging, thus our local councillors deserve commendation for reassessing the adverse effects their initial decision had on the town and opting for this positive change. Moreover, this resolution highlights the advantages of the local business community’s collective action and constructive engagement with our elected officials across all parties.”

Former mayors of Larne, Roy Craig and Andy Wilson, voiced concerns to the council’s interim chief executive, Valerie Watts, about the noticeable decline in usage of the affected car parks, underscoring the need for reconsideration.

A spokesperson for the council remarked on the recent developments: “Following in-depth consultations with residents and business owners, the council has determined that Carrickfergus Castle Car Park will continue to be free for public use. We appreciate the engagement and input from all participants in the consultation process. The actions taken by the council this week are a testament to our responsive approach to community feedback.”

They added, “The council has also agreed that the car parks at Mount Street (both One and Two) and Broughshane Street in Ballymena will transition back to free parking facilities, with these changes to be implemented imminently. Similarly, in Larne, the Exchange Road and Circular Road East car parks will be made free of charge shortly.”

“The council remains committed to collaborating closely with traders and business leaders in the town centre to support, enhance, and grow our local economy, ensuring the provision of outstanding services, facilities, and infrastructure for both our citizens and visitors.”

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