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‘Over-zealous’ parking attendants accused of driving customers from towns and cities

Newry second and Armagh sixth in 'most ticketed towns and cities table'

Traffic wardens have been accused of helping to choke trade in city and town centres after it was revealed a huge increase in the number of tickets handed out.

During the 2015-2016 year, there was an 11 per cent rise in parking penalties across Northern Ireland.

A penalty incurs a fine of £90 which is halved if it is paid within 14 days.

But the total number of tickets issued had the potential to bring in well in excess of £12 million.

In a table of our 15 most ticketed towns and cities, Newry – with 6,379 – came second only to Belfast, where 34,690 tickets were issued to motorists.

Armagh City was sixth in that table – where 2,747 tickets were doled out – coming in behind third placed L/Derry on 5,477, Ballymena, in fourth, on 3,838, and Lisburn, fifth, with 3,624.

Both Lurgan and Portadown also made the top 15.

Portadown was in eighth place, with 2,438, behind seventh placed Enniskillen on 2,581.

Lurgan was 14th, on 1,164.

The others in the top 15 most ticketed were Bangor, 9th, on 2,249, Newtownards, 10th, on 1,561, Coleraine, 11th, on 1,402, Newcastle, 12th, 1,363, Omagh, 13th, with 1,313, and, finally, Magherafelt, on 1,102.

The figures have been released by the Department for Infrastructure, which oversees Transport NI which, in turns, contracts out traffic attendant responsibilities to NSL Services.

Chied Exexutive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Association Glyn Roberts said it will have a devastating impact for traders as it will drive customers away.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: “For some time our organisation has expressed the view that over-zealous enforcement of car parking is becoming a serious problem for our town and city centres.

“The huge volume of fines is in danger of putting off shoppers from going into our town and city centres for fear of a ticket.

“The only winners from this are the big out-of-town superstores with their unfair competitive advantage of free car parking and no traffic attendants.”

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