A Larne trader fears delivery companies will refuse to supply him after a lorry received a parking fine during preparatory public realm work.
Last week, owner of Prestige Flooring and Bathrooms Ellis Cahoon said he believed businesses on Main Street would suffer a decline in footfall and delivery difficulties under plans to close a section of the road from Broadway to the Town Hall to traffic for up to five weeks from January 25.
On Friday January 22, three days before the diversion was due to be implemented, a lorry unable to park outside Ellis’ shop was fined for parking in a loading bay.
“The lorry driver parked in a loading bay outside Dunnes and ran down the street to ask the workmen if they would move their diggers until he got the delivery in but they refused,” Ellis explained.
“He had already driven around the one-way system and he was only gone three or four minutes but when he got back there was a parking ticket there.
“People thought there was leeway with parking during the public realm work but there obviously isn’t.
“The responsibility for paying fines rests with the lorry driver, not the company, and I will be helping him to appeal this.”
Ellis says that parking attendants should “show a bit of common decency” to traders during public realm works.
“I am taking deliveries of heavy objects and they need to park as close as they can,” he continued.
“The road closure hadn’t even started and it was already a complete disaster.”
Ellis fears that if the situation continues he will be unable to receive future deliveries.
“If the road isn’t accessible then companies might tell me they won’t deliver to me,” he concluded.
A TransportNI spokesperson said: “Anyone who has been issued with a PCN may make a challenge. All supporting evidence, such as a copy of any pay and display voucher, if applicable, that was valid at the time will be considered, or if available, details of any instruction given by a police officer.
“TransportNI Parking Enforcement Unit has noted the reported comments and will work to establish if the situation on the ground needs to be reviewed.”
A council spokesperson said the contractors involved had been from NIE and were renewing their cables in advance of the public realm contractor.
“Council has sought to reduce the number of parking and delivery spaces left unavailable for use by requesting NIE to ask their contractors not to park their vehicles in town centre locations while they are carrying out works nearby,” he said.
“Mid and East Antrim Borough Council continues to liaise with all the contractors working in the town centre to ensure that business disruption is minimised; NIE has been in attendance at the public meetings. All contractors working in town centre locations are required to liaise with Transport NI (DRD Roads Service). Earney Contracts (Public Realm contractor) applied to Transport NI for the temporary road closure to enable safe and speedy working to be completed in this part of Main Street.
“They are required as part of their contract to liaise with all businesses affected by this and to ensure that deliveries and collections are facilitated.”
An NIE spokesperson said: “In all cases, we have worked with traders to accommodate deliveries or to offer alternatives to free up the space as quickly and safely as possible. In this particular case the bay in front of the shop was taken by a member of the public. We offered to move the equipment next to the parking bay but needed a short time to do so and the driver refused to wait.
“Work in the narrowest part of Main Street, between Broadway and the town hall, which disrupted access to the parking bays is now complete. We are grateful for the help and co-operation of traders during this time.”