Traders in Ballinrobe and Claremorris have joined forces to campaign for fairer car parking. The initiative by Ballinrobe BEO and Claremorris Chamber of Commerce is aiming for one hour of free parking on weekdays and free parking on Saturday.
Speaking after a meeting with county councillors last Monday (June 11 ), a spokesperson for the two groups said: “Insane parking rules and charges are forcing small business under.”
“People will not shop in a town centre when they face an Olympic-style sprint with the traffic warden,” said Jimmy Flynn from Claremorris Chamber. “One hour of free parking, as they have in Westport and Swinford, will give our customers some comfort and our shops a fighting chance.”
Richard Cummins of Ballinrobe BEO said the two towns have lost 72 shops to the slump. “We're in the fight of our lives to save what’s left. We will not stand by while Mayo County Council gifts the businesses we built to edge-of-town centres with free parking all day every day.”
The two business leaders slammed Mayo County Council for having six sets of parking rules and parking charges for the six main towns in the county; and they poured cold water on claims that Ballina, Castlebar, and Westport might be treated differently as the town councils remit a rate to the county council.
The two business groups believe their proposal will suit town centre shoppers, while also enabling the local authority to continue collecting from pay and display. The idea, for one hour of free parking on weekdays and free parking on Saturday, will be discussed at a meeting on July 5 between County Councillors and officials. Said Richard Cummins: “We're entitled to fair treatment for the €13.7m of rates we will pay this year.”
Current parking rates
Ballina has pay and display, Monday to Saturday, 70c/hour on-street, 50c/hour in car parks.
Castlebar has pay and display, Monday to Saturday, €1/hour on-street, 50c/hour in car parks.
Ballinrobe and Claremorris have pay and display, 10 minutes free, 60c/hour on-street, and 30c/hour in car parks.
Westport Town Council rejected the introduction of on-street car parking charges in 2011. In Swinford, the first hour of on-street parking is free. Drivers must then move.