Midleton Town Council has voted to proceed with a €2m footpath regeneration programme, despite claims by traders that lost parking spaces will cost businesses €1.5m a year.
A special meeting of the council agreed the plan with a 6-3 majority but with amendments reducing the number of lost car spaces from 16 to 13.
Eight further spaces have been lost in phase one of the project, already implemented on a quarter of the street.
Town manager Sharon Corcoran advised the councillors to consider the needs of all sections of the community and said the project would provide Midleton with a spacious, disability- friendly thoroughfare that any town would welcome.
Town clerk Joe McCarthy, meanwhile, said the alleged €1.5m figure was based on the unlikely scenario of maximum turnover of space availability.
The council also agreed to add two pedestrian crossings to the street, including a “raised table community space” at the street centre, an internationally emerging concept that creates parity between pedestrians and traffic.
The amendments also allow for the footpath to be widened where necessary to create a straight delineation in the interests of disability access. Four disabled parking spaces will also be provided near the street centre adjacent to shoulder builds.
Mr McCarthy said shoppers willingly park off-street in other towns but apparently don’t want to do so in Midleton, where there is a large car park at the southern end of the town, alongside a multi-storey facility that is closed through lack of demand: “A traffic survey in 2010 showed we actually have a surplus of parking spaces in Midleton.”
Prior to studying the amended plan, spokesman for Midleton Traders Association Fergus McCarthy said he felt “the information coming from the meeting is extremely conflicted but also extremely worrying”.
Midleton traders held a initial meeting on Friday last and are understood to be planning more.
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