DISABLED drivers are being a cold sharp shift from Market Street in Armagh, it has been claimed today (Thursday).
SDLP Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon condemned the new restrictions and revealed he raised the issue at Armagh Council’s Public Services Scrutiny Committee last week.
He told Armagh I that he has asked for a meeting to be organised with DRD Roads Service “as a matter of urgency”.
Councillor O’Hanlon said: “Armagh City Centre has undergone a massive transformation in recent years and the city is a much brighter and more attractive place, but there is no point in having a place that looks great if noone can get access to it and, in particular, those with restricted mobility or disabilities.
“Last month at the Council’s Public Services Scrutiny Committee I raised the issue of a sudden change in policy by DRD Roads Service in relation to disabled drivers using Market Street in Armagh.
“But upon investigation I was advised that this should always have been enforced since the environmental improvement scheme was completed, although it was not done due to the lack of appropriate signage.
“All of a sudden ‘No Loading’ signs appeared on almost every pole in the street and the ‘red coats’ started enforcing it. I am advised that ‘No Loading’ restrictions do not even allow for a disabled driver to be exempt from restrictions, as they are, for example, with double yellow lines.
“Having raised the issue last month, I was awaiting a reply from officials, however, in the meantime I have been approached by disabled drivers, carers and indeed local businesses complaining about the new restrictions and the impact on the drivers and the businesses locally.
“I know traffic management is vital to any city centre strategy, but we need to make allowances for disabled drivers.
“On one occasion, a disabled driver couldn’t get access to one of the disabled parking bays in Upper English Street, which was taken up by a lorry making deliveries.
“Until recently a driver displaying a disabled badge was able to park in Market Street, but this is no longer the case.
“This is a terrible indictment on our society that we cannot make adequate provision for disabled drivers. I have sought an urgent meeting between DRD Roads Service , councillors and council officials to have the matter looked at so we can have this ridiculous situation resolved as soon as possible.”