PAY parking is worth about €800,000 to Naas Town Council every year and is unlikely to be done away with.
A proposal for a temporary cessation of pay parking for a six month period was derailed by Naas Town Council.
The necessity to pay for parking in the town, coupled with the fact that no charges apply at the Tesco shopping centre in Monread, has prompted complaints from business people.
However there was little support for a bid to suspend parking or to even analyse the effects of a suspension.
The proposal came from Cllr. Seamie Moore who told a Naas Town Council meeting last week that “there is a view that Naas is non-parking town; you can’t shop or you will be clamped.”
He said the council must do so something to counteract the image of the town.
“Everywhere you go in Naas the traders are saying they want some relief; people have little money and they are afraid of getting clamped or getting a parking ticket,” he said.
(Naas Town Council does not clamp vehicles; but private car park owners employ a company which does).
Cllr. Moore said the town council is losing rates income as businesses go under and this amounts to more than pay parking is worth.
There is a really negative perception of the town and “it’s taking people to Tesco”, said Cllr. Emer McDaid.
There was trenchant opposition from Cllr. Darren Scully, who said if pay parking ceases then people will park all day on the main street “and get a bus to Dublin”.
“It [suspending pay parking] won’t encourage people to come in. Some car parks are only quarter full,” he added.
He suggested the fall in business was due to other reasons such as the recession.
Mayor Willie Callaghan was also in favour of pay parking. He said business people “are their own worst enemies” by constantly talking about pay parking.
Instead, he added, they should be more pro-active in trying to get people into the town and their shops.
He said services would disappear without the income from pay parking.
Town Clerk Ken Kavanagh said parking fees and regulations ensure that careless parking does not cause obstruction. He also said pay parking reduces congestion, improves road safety and increases the turnover of on-street parking spaces.
It was introduced after extensive consultation with the community.
He also said money from pay parking goes towards road and footpath maintenance, street cleaning, litter management and public lighting.