Over 70 submissions received on Westport parking bye-laws

The controversial topic of the introduction of on-street parking charges in Westport is set to a head on Monday.

When a proposal by council officials to change the parking bye-laws in Westport will be made at a special meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District.

The meeting takes place in Claremorris as it will precede the monthly meeting of Mayo County Council which will be hosted in the south Mayo town - to makr the final meeting under the tenure of Cllr Richard Finn as Cathaoirleach of the local authority.

The council published four different sets of new bye-laws for Westport on public display on April 9, with a closing date of Friday, May 25, for submissions from the public and interested bodies.

In a report circulated to members ahead of the meeting, Padraic Walsh head of the West Mayo Municipal District reported that there were 76 public submissions received.

The vast majority negative towards the proposals, with 50 of the submissions suggesting that the introduction of on-street parking charges would have a negative impact on business in Westport.

According to Walsh's report the rationale behind the introduction of bye-laws is to "update the current defective bye-laws in relation to traffic flow and parking in Westport and to introduce new bye-laws for a new bus park and regulation of horse drawn hackney carriages. The changes proposed will significantly improve traffic congestion in the town of Westport and are compatible with the towns overall Smarter Travel strategy, thus furthering Westport's position as a leading light in the area of smarter travel."

"The planned changes have been put forward to tackle traffic congestion, unregulated parking and to balance the parking opportunities throughout the town so that all town centre parking spaces and car parks offer all stakeholders a range and choice of parking options depending on location. The provision of this new balanced parking at all times of the day."

Any likelihood of the bye-laws winning the approval of the majority of the seven elected members of the West Mayo Municipal District is expected to be very slim, with four members having already publicly expressed their opposition to the proposal to introduce such charges in the past.

Westport based Fianna Fáil Cllr Brendan Mulroy and Independent Cllr Christy Hyland have both been very vocal critics of the plan since it was first mooted, while Fine Gael Westport based Cllr Tereasa McGuire at a previous meeting of the municipal district put forward her own version of the bye-laws for consideration.

The remaining four members of the municipal district are based outside the Westport town area and one of those, Belmullet based Sinn Féin Cllr Teresa Whelan has also previously stated she would not support the proposals as they stand.

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