The closing of parking bays along Hill Street in Newry with cones from 7am this morning, Thursday 22 November, was just a case of officials getting it wrong. That was the opinion of Councillor Michael Savage who was speaking about the traffic arrangements that were put in place for the Christmas light switch on and Santa Run events which happened from 5pm.

Councillor Savage said:"I am not in the habit of criticising Council Officials publicly but I think in this instance they simply got it wrong.

Cones were removed from parking bays on Hill Street at lunchtime.
Cones were removed from parking bays on Hill Street at lunchtime after business concerns were raised by Cllr Savage.

"Councillors did not make this decision it was a logistics decision made by officials. The first I and my councillor colleagues knew of it was when traders contacted me to complain that the parking bays were coned off from 7am for an event that was taking place at 5.30pm.

Cllr Savage added "Traders were facing a major hit to their day's trading and were justifiably angry. I contacted Council CEO Liam Hannaway before lunchtime to see if action could be taken and the cones were moved before 1pm.

"I understand there is a need to prepare for the Christmas switch-on event and to ensure that all health and safety and access considerations are brought into play but I do not believe they required closing off on-street parking access for a full trading day in one of the busiest retail weeks of the year leading up to Black Friday.

The Newry city councillor concluded "There needs to be a review of the decision that was made to ensure that it doesn't happen again and all stakeholders are informed and consulted going forward.

"We are very proud of Newry's place as a top retail destination and we all need to work together to ensure that we do not do anything to damage that."

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