MEMBERS of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee have this week agreed to commission a Parking Strategy for the Council area and the appointment of a specialist consultancy to deliver the study.
Members were informed that the Parking Strategy will be a vital component supporting Council’s Investment and Place-making strategies and a key element of the work being done to facilitate the regeneration of both Derry City and Strabane Town Centre’s.
Speaking at the meeting, Head of Business with Council, Kevin O’Connor, explained that following Local Government Reform in Northern Ireland, the Department for Infrastructure transferred all its off-street car parks (excluding Park and Ride) to local Councils and that Council now has responsibility for the operation of 30 off-street car park, of which 15 are paid.
He said that the Car Parking Strategy for the city centre of Derry~Londonderry and Strabane town centre would allow Council to assess the current and future car parking capacity and needs.
The Strategy will take into account the impact of the wider NW Transport Strategy, the impact of changing commuter, retail and visitor trends on Car Parking provision.
Mr O’Connor advised that the Strategy will give citizens, businesses and visitors the opportunity to inform and shape the future provision of car parking throughout the district.
The Strategy development will involve a wide reaching consultation process and will further assist Council as it progresses its Local Development Plan (LDP).
Welcoming the decision, the chairperson of the Business and Culture Committee Cllr Patricia Logue said she was confident the findings and options identified in the Parking Strategy would inform both the Local Development Plan and the NW Transport Strategy.
She said progress on the NW Transport Strategy will also be integrated into the Parking Strategy in addition to the Council’s other initiatives such as the Settlements and Place-making Study, Retail Study and Strabane Basin Study.
Cllr Logue welcomed the appointment of the specialist company to carry out the works.
She said she was pleased to be able to draw on the expertise and knowledge of the local transport conditions and local planning environment to carry out the study, provided by a team of suitably qualified professionals from a multi-disciplinary background, incorporating transport engineers, planners and urban designers who will deliver an effective and flexible long-term parking strategy for Derry City and Strabane town.
She also welcomed the fact that the team will work in partnership with Council’s internal project team involving representation from Planning, Business and Investment to oversee the project, while a wider internal stakeholder group will also encompass business, tourism and events.
Members were also informed that the company will work in partnership with other Government departments and consultants on a range of projects that are linked to the delivery of the NW Transport Strategy to ensure synergy and alignment and that the timeframe for the completion of the study is an estimated 12 weeks.
The recommendation is subject to full ratification by Full Council later this month.