Ending of free Christmas parking welcomed by Alliance Councillor

Alliance Councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown has welcomed the potential ending of free car parking in Belfast city centre over the Christmas period.

The move was decided by a Council Committee last night. It will now go before full Council next month. Last year, 1,500 spaces were provided free of charge in evenings and on weekends in the festive period in Council-owned car parks.

Councillor McDonough-Brown said the scheme had not produced the outcomes the Council had hoped for.

“Free parking sounds attractive, but the reality was different with significant traffic delays, failed journeys and frustrated shoppers” he said.

“Translink reported fewer journeys being made by people on public transport during the period, leading to lost revenue. Traders also lose out when potential shoppers are stuck in traffic instead of being in the shops.

“Based on the evidence presented to us, I believe the committee made the right decision as the free festive parking was counterproductive. We must develop and resource our public transport system to move commuters and shoppers more easily in and out of Belfast city centre.”

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