PLANNED parking restrictions on one of Larne’s “forgotten” town centre streets could help alleviate traffic congestion and have a positive impact on local businesses, it has been claimed.
The current parking system on Dunluce Street has been a source of consternation for a number of traders, who are “fed up” with vehicles being parked outside their shops for long periods of time, claiming this causes disruption and drives away potential customers.
In response to these concerns, the Roads Service intends to introduce double yellow lines on most of the narrow street, with six parking bays also being added to allow motorists to park for short periods of time. The measures are due to be implemented this month.
Larne Councillor Drew Niblock, who has been lobbying for parking restrictions in the area, gave his full backing to the plans and hoped the scheme would herald the start of a new era of regeneration for one of Larne’s “forgotten streets”.
He told the Times: “There is no other street in the town centre where people are allowed to park all day for free and then head off to work, so why should Dunluce Street be any different.
“The street resembles a car park at times, and I feel that the current parking regulations have contributed to the decline of business in that area in recent years.
“I welcome the introduction of these new parking measures, and was pleased to hear that the Department of Regional Development will also be looking at the possibility of improving street lighting on Dunluce Street. Hopefully this will lead to further regeneration for this part of the town.”
But traders on Dunluce Street are divided about the planned parking restrictions, with some claiming it will do more harm than good.
One shop owner said: “I agree that something has to be done about the parking situation on Dunluce Street, but double yellow lines are not the answer. Businesses in this part of the town are struggling as it is, and these changes will hurt traders rather than help them. People will no longer be able to park outside the shops and many will just take their business elsewhere.”
But another trader felt the parking restrictions would help reduce congestion and make the street “more organised”.
“People often abandon their vehicles on this street and head off to work, blocking the entrance to shops and preventing any other traffic getting past. A lot of us are fed up and something definitely needs to be done to stop this, so let’s give these new measures a chance and see if the situation improves,” he added
Councillor Niblock concluded: “While some people may not agree with the introduction of double yellow lines for whatever reason, these measures are for the betterment of the street as a whole.”
As previously reported, businesses in Dunluce Street, Point Street and Lower Cross Street complained that while DSD had committed £150,000 to help improve shop fronts and signage at Main Street, there were no plans for their own streets, which many feel have been neglected for too long.
Traders signed a petition demanded a fair share of DSD funding, which lead to the Department inviting shop owners to come up with their own proposals on how to improve the area.