A warning has gone out that trade in Strabane, already not at its best, will suffer further as a result of augmented prices at council-owned car parks.
The warning was issued by local publican, Raymond Barr, who runs Christy’s Bar on Lower Main Street.
It was recently confirmed by Derry City and Strabane District Council that car parking prices at all council owned Pay and Display Car Parks across the area increased by 20 pence per hour from May 1. This puts the price up from 50 to 70 pence at the four council-run car parks in Strabane, at Lower and Upper Main Street, Butcher Street and Railway Street.
Mr Barr slammed the price hike, saying, “It’s bound to hurt trade, of course. Strabane is already in the depths of an economic deprivation crisis, and an increase in prices will only discourage people further from driving into town to shop.
“We have very little in the town as it is, and it’s important to keep what trade we have in Strabane alive. I just don’t see this as the way to do it.
“The excuse for the price increase was mitigating for the rates. If this increase hadn’t been agreed, then the rates increase would have been much higher. Nevertheless, it’s still another nail in the coffin, which will hurt trade in the town.”
A council spokesperson confirmed the increase saying, “This increase was agreed as part of the recent rates process in February, when elected members, in response to unprecedented financial challenges and pressures, agreed a series of service cutbacks and income generation measures.
“The series of savings and income generation measures identified and implemented across a number of council services will enable the council to continue to deliver its critical front line services, with a minimum impact on the public.”