A NUMBER of parking initiatives are set to be put in place in the town in the run-up to Christmas in a bid to encourage shopping in the county capital.
However, Ennis Town Council will put in place a scaled-back pedestrianisation policy on what had previously been proposed, following discussions with local businesses.
At this week’s meeting of the local authority, town clerk, Leonard Cleary stated that in preparing the town’s pedestrianisation plan for Christmas, the council sought opinions from business people, ratepayers and property owners.
It had originally been proposed to pedestrianise O’Connell Street on a number of Saturdays leading up to the festive period, as well as the days immediately before Christmas Day.
The council received a number of submissions in relation to the plan, with Ennis Chamber suggesting pedestrianisation on two Saturdays, as well as the days leading up to Christmas.
Mr Cleary revealed at this week’s meeting that “a larger December pedestrianisation policy does not seem to be gaining currency at the moment”.
The council’s new policy will see O’Connell Street closed to traffic on Saturday, December 21, continuing until Christmas Eve.
Town manager Ger Dollard stated that one of the issues surrounding pedestrianisation is the “on-off nature”, stating these dates would help alleviate any confusion.
Councillor Johnny Flynn welcomed the move. However, he raised concerns that “organised begging” in parts of the town could undermine the efforts being made to create a festive atmosphere.
Councillor Michael Guilfoyle called for something to be done to prevent charity collectors obstructing pedestrians on the public walkway outside Dunnes Stores.
The meeting also heard details of planned car-parking initiatives for Christmas. Outlining the plan, Mr Cleary stated, “Following the success of parking initiatives in recent years, Ennis Town Council has developed and researched a Christmas parking initiative. A recent consultation was held between representatives of the Ennis business community and Ennis Town Council with the key task of promoting shopping in Ennis over the Christmas and New Year period.”
Under the plan, free parking will be available up to 12 noon daily during December 2013 to January 6, 2014, both on street and off street. Cloughleigh car park will be free for December until January 6, while low-cost parking will be available at the long-stay car park in Glór.
Staff of shops and business owners are being encouraged by the council to free up spaces close to the town centre for shoppers by using the alternatives provided.
Mr Cleary pointed out that the business community is developing an active involvement in the incentives for visitors and shoppers. He added that the town council will advertise details of the initiatives, which will also be available on the council’s website, as well as the Visit Ennis website.
“The business community is also taking an active involvement in promoting the initiative. It is anticipated that the business community will promote their own initiatives in tandem with the free parking to encourage shoppers to Ennis during the Christmas period and for the new year sales,” he added.