The introduction of 30 minutes of free parking in Mallow has cost the local authority large sums of money and the town’s main streets have become clogged up.
That’s according to council officials who studied the effects of the half-hour parking amnesty, which was introduced on May 5.
They said that income had reduced by 17% between May and the end of July, compared to the same period last year.
This amounted to a loss of €7,000 per month, or €84,000 a year.
In the busy Davis Street, income from three meters had reduced from €9.966.60 to €4.712.50.
As a result of the free parking, it was harder to find spaces on the town’s main street, officials said, and the off-street car parks were noticeably less busy.
They said the loss of revenue was of concern and may reduce the amount of money the Kanturk/Mallow municipal district will receive in grants from the county council into the future.
The council has set up a system to reward towns that bring in pay-parking revenue.
The Mayor of County Cork, Cllr John Paul O’Shea (Ind), said there had been “huge positivity” about providing shoppers with 30 minutes of free parking.
He said the council could live with a 17% reduction in revenue and the pilot scheme should be taken on board permanently.
Cllr O’Shea said there shouldn’t be two wardens, who work a total of 60 hours per week, patrolling the town.
They operate for a private service, which takes half the estimated €600,000 per year generated by pay parking and fines in the town.
Cllr O’Shea said even taking into account a possible €80,000 per year reduction in the council’s share of the profits, it would still accumulate €220,000 from parking and would remain the most profitable town in the county for such revenue generation.
Therefore, he said the county council shouldn’t penalise it, for the loss, with decreased grants for local projects.
Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG) said he was concerned that the county council could reduce grants.
However, Cllr Murphy said that if it was improving business, then, ultimately that was good for the council, as the ratepayers benefitted.
Cllr Melissa Mullane (SF) said the council should hire its own wardens.
She said it made no sense to pay a private company to do the work for them.
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