Motorist’s anger at early closing of public carpark

A MAN who finished work to find his car locked behind a barrier at an Enniskillen public carpark has raised questions about why the carpark is closed at night and how much ratepayers’ money is used in staffing the arrangement.
On Friday night, the man who wished not to be named, returned to Holyhill Crescent carpark near Dunnes Stores after his work at 7.10pm to find his car locked in the carpark. The carpark is council owned and is opened at 7am by a council employee, and is closed at 7pm The man was forced to call the police, and had to wait for 20 minutes on them to arrive before he could get his car out of the car park.
Speaking to the Herald about his ordeal he explained, “I was working late on Friday evening as I had an event to go to later in town. I wasn’t aware that the carpark was locked in the evenings and was a bit taken aback when I arrived at the carpark about 7.10pm to find it had been locked. My car was the only one in the carpark and as it had a Southern registration whoever locked the carpark must surely have realised that the person who owned the car might not necessarily be aware of the regulations regarding the carpark.
“As I was getting late for the evening event I considered taking the car over the kerbing, but it looked too dangerous and I didn’t want to damage my car. I called 101 and after about 20 minutes a policeman came to unlock it for me. He said they had only got a key for the carpark recently themselves, so I was lucky in that regard. It seems crazy to me to be locking a carpark at 7pm in the evening, and I would query why whoever locked the carpark didn’t have the common sense to make allowances. What would have happened if my child had been ill, or there had been some other emergency?”
With regard to the cost of opening and closing the carpark a spokesman for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council claimed “there is no cost as it forms part of the employee’s normal daily duties”.
“These measures were implemented in 2014 as part of a multi-agency response to combat anti-social behaviour in the car park. The carpark is opened daily by an employee of the Council and the closure is facilitated by a community group,” he added.
In 2014, at the time of implementation of the restricted parking, due process was followed and the notice to amend the Off Street Parking Order was advertised. There is one sign on approach to the carpark and three signs throughout the carpark informing users of the opening and closing time. It is not planned to increase this further.”

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