THE business community in Ennistymon has been expressing its concern over the reduction of up to 16 parking spaces from the town centre.
The matter was raised by Councillor Shane Talty at the July meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, who said he had been hearing of “huge trepidation” among retailers. Under a Part 8 planning application to revitalise Main Street in the town, 14-16 spaces will be removed with the council proposing to expand pedestrian facilities and increase street furniture. Councillor Talty said that while the Part 8, which is to be lodged later this year, was widely welcomed, an alternative town centre parking is needed.
“We have a historic problem with congestion,” Councillor Talty noted. “There has been a welcome increase in the number of businesses opening, with one business from Parnell Street in Ennis recently relocating to Ennistymon. We have a very vibrant town, but I’m hearing of huge trepidation at the prospect of a reduction in spaces. What I would like to see now is a plan for convenient, off-street parking.”
Giving his backing to the call, Councillor Joe Garrihy said it was important to “add value” to towns which were doing well. “Ennistymon is working,” he said. “We need to keep the growth and positivity going.”
Director of Service Leonard Vaughan said that the Part 8 application is especially timely in light of the Fáilte Ireland Destination Town designation. “We absolutely recognise the need for parking and it is being discussed with Fáilte Ireland. We have had a walk around Ennistymon to look at options.”
In terms of the time-frame for the development of new facilities, Mr Vaughan said it was hoped that works would start next year, “We are in the process of acquiring some property and would expect to go Sale Agreed by the autumn. That would mean we would be starting work in 2021.”
Senior Executive Officer John O’Malley said the council had identified a number of options available to them. “When we discuss the budget in the autumn, we will be putting forward some funding proposals,” he said. “This is a model that we would like to replicate in Kilrush and Miltown Malbay, by having flagship developments. We are not forgetting either about Lisdoonvarna, Lahinch and Kilkee.”