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Back to drawing board for Turnpike parking ban

CLARE County Council are to go back to the drawing board after controversial draft proposals to ban roadside parking in the Turnpike area of Ennis were roundly rejected by residents, businesses, and members of the Ennis Municipal District. .
The local authority have assured residents that the draft discussion document circulated had never been a “fait accompli” and they are trying to “find a solution to meet everybody’s needs”.
A petition signed by hundreds of locals voicing their opposition was presented to the monthly meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, with many people from the area in the public gallery.
The initial proposal included the installation of 46 bollards outside businesses and premises as well as the construction of a new car park on an existing green.
The council have agreed to hold a further meeting between officials, elected members and the business community to further discuss and agree a proposed solution.
Speaking at this week’s meeting of the municipal district, Councillor Pat Daly, who lives in the area, stated local people got a “fright” when they saw the draft proposals. He said there is “no point digging up a green area for parking” adding he is hopeful a further meeting will be “fruitful and all will be accommodated.”
He added that a solution must be found to help one local resident who is regularly unable to get into his house due to cars illegally parked outside.
Councillor Ann Norton commented, “It’s a shame the residents got such a fright, it was something they thought was a done deal.” She added that local people need to be listened to in coming up with plans for the area.
Councillor Johnny Flynn, outlined that there were concerns that the proposal would have a “huge impact including loss of business and jobs”.
He said that works were required on a “minor scale” to deal with some areas of concern. And he welcomed that the draft proposal had been “put to bed and will not get support from any councillors.”
Councillor Mary Howard commented that the Turnpike is a “precious part” of Ennis, stressing the importance of keeping local businesses sustainable. She added it is vital to protect green spaces, and she would not support the green being replaced with a carpark.
Mayor of Ennis Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy told the residents, “don’t worry, this is not going to happen”, adding that those in the public gallery were witnessing “democracy in the raw”.
The initial draft was the result of an assessment of the Gallows Hill junction in the Turnpike which was requested back in May 2018 by Councillor James Breen who, at the time, said cars parking on the footpaths in the area was causing “an entirely dangerous situation.”
Speaking this week, Councillor Breen stated when he first proposed action be taken, he had been assured that meetings would be held with residents to discuss proposals. He said if that had happened, residents would not have been so concerned. “Somebody slipped up because we didn’t have a meeting. We want to see the businesses flourish, we don’t want to see them perish,” he said.
Director of service Carmel Kirby commented that the council wants to do its best for both the business community and to ensure the health and safety of people in the area.
She continued, “What we are trying to do is create a solution that will meet everybody’s needs”. She assured that the document which had been presented to local businesses, “was only a draft proposal, unfortunately people thought it was a fait accompli, that was not our intention.”
Barry Conway, acting senior executive engineer stated that there would be “no problem” facilitating a meeting to discuss proposals.
In a statement issued after the meeting, a spokesperson for Clare County Council said, “At the May 2018 Municipal District Meeting, Clare County Council was requested by Elected Members to assess the Gallows Hill junction in the Turnpike area taking into consideration the health and safety of all road users and residents, as well as the needs of local businesses. Ennis Municipal District outlined in the January 2019 meeting that an initial draft discussion document would be circulated to all members and local businesses.
“It is clear from the initial feedback that elements of discussion document is not to the satisfaction of the businesses/residents of the area. A further meeting between Council Officials, Elected Members and the Business community in the area will be arranged in order to further discuss and agree a proposed solution to the health and safety concerns raised at this location.”

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