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Staff could ‘scooter’ to work at new Newry civic centre says council chief

Green transport and parking on the agenda

Newry Cathedral and an artist's impression of the new NMDDC Civic Centre

A council chief executive officer has suggested staff could “scooter” to work at a new £17m civic centre in Newry as part of a “green agenda” on transport.

A strategy, policy and resources committee has approved plans this week to proceed with the development of the local authority’s headquarters in the city centre.

The new civic building design, close to Newry Cathedral, has caused concerns over parking spaces for staff and parishioners.

Council chief Marie Ward said: “One of the biggest challenges faced in planning is parking in Newry generally, that is why we have a transportation study that is going on across Newry.”

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) is seeking to create staff parking at Cecil Street, 1km away, as well as public parking in North Street, 150 yards away from the planned civic hub at Abbey Way.

Ms Ward added: “The North Street plan will hopefully not just look at our (council staff) issue with parking, but will actually provide additional provision for Newry city and the regeneration moving forward.

“We also need to be cognisant…that there is a move from the green agenda and looking towards how we actually look at sustainable travel.

“So, the creation of additional car parking spaces and tarmacked areas right across Newry would potentially not be in the best interests of anyone, so we need to look at sustainable transport.

“A senior officer was saying to me that scooters are being legalised in the south and suggested maybe that would happen in the north. And we did have an interesting thought of us all going to work on a scooter.

“So, there is going to be opportunities moving forward looking at green transport and how we manage that, on bikes or whatever.”

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