Free parking in Cookstown could be coming to an end

Orritor Road/Burn Road car park in Cookstown where parking is free
Orritor Road/Burn Road car park in Cookstown where parking is free

The end of free parking in Cookstown appears to be in sight as Mid Ulster Council embarks on a consultation regarding a 'new approach' to off street parking.

For years shoppers and visitors to the Tyrone town have enjoyed free parking unlike those in neighbouring Magherafelt and Dungannon.

Orritor Street car park leading to Burn Road park in Cookstown town centre

Orritor Street car park leading to Burn Road park in Cookstown town centre

Magherafelt and Dungannon motorists will also be impacted by the proposals, which were considered by the council's environment committee on Monday night.

The consultation is expected to begin later in the summer and last for 12 weeks.

When the council became responsible for off street parking at 23 sites in eight towns and villages just over two years ago, they commissioned a study of how the car parks were being used.

The study also looked at their capacity and tariffs, as well as examining how best to develop and manage them in the future.

Under the proposals which seek to equalise access to parking and ensure tariffs are consistent across town centre sites, charging would be introduced for 315 spaces at five locations in Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt, with the remaining 18 sites unaffected.

Plans are that car parks at Union Place (117 spaces) and Burn Road (106 spaces) in Cookstown will be charged.

Central, Magherafelt: 116 spaces to be charged (80 currently charged).

Union Road, Magherafelt: as yet undetermined number of free spaces to be reduced; and

Perry Street in Dungannon 92 spaces will be charges (346 currently charged).

An additional 43 spaces for disabled drivers and parent/child parking space and the introduction of 'pay on foot' barrier is included in the new off street car parking strategy.