AN Ennistymon shopkeeper is hopeful that Clare County Council will retain two parking places outside his and an adjoining premises following representations on his behalf this week.
James Devitt, owner of the landmark hardware store on Main Street, feared that the loading bay area outside his and the Spar supermarket would be eliminated as part of the Ennistymon rejuvenation plan, which includes removing 16 parking spaces on the street.
Mr Devitt explained, “There are the equivalent of three parking spaces in the loading bay outside our shops at the moment. This is used mainly for parking – often for hours – but the council intended to put three marked parking spaces here, with a strictly enforced 30 minutes limit. I have four competitors who would still have parking on their doorstep, and this would be unfair to me.
“I really need parking outside my place. I sell hardware and heavy stuff has to be carried out to customers’ cars. For me it’s no use having new car parking a street away. People will not walk to my shop for hardware; they’ll go elsewhere. It’s different if people need to go to a chemist or the bank. They’ve no choice.”
Following representations to Clare TD Joe Carey, a meeting took place on Monday at Ennistymon hub, where Mr Carey, council official PJ Carmody and other interested parties discussed the issue. Afterwards Mr Carmody called to Mr Devitt to outline a compromise.
“Mr Carmody was very amicable about my problem with the council’s plan. The council wants to install a pedestrian crossing and that would account for one parking space. I accept that there is a need for this, but I’m hopeful that this will leave room for at least one space outside my shop. Brendan Lynch, a retired planner living in the area, is looking at this and will be preparing a submission on my behalf to retain two spaces,” he said.
Mr Devitt is also critical of staff from local businesses taking up much-needed parking spaces for hours on end. “If they don’t have parking available from employers, they should park off the street and leave the spaces for customers of local businesses,” he said.