KILDARE County Council’s Celbridge area committee has recommended that the Council provide free parking on a number of days in the run up to Christmas.
But Council officials have advised against the move saying they felt very strongly against it on a number of grounds.
At its meeting in Naas on 15 November, the members recommended that the Council’s parking contractors, Apcoa, enable free parking from Wednesday, 19 December to Christmas Eve on 24 November.
Council official, Sonya Kavanagh, said disabling regulated parking and enabling illegal parking will lead to all day parking and traffic congestion which will have a negative effect on business and people visiting the town.
She said the fact that enforcement times have already been reduced for the past year has lead to a significant amount of overstaying in parking bays which is already having a negative impact on business in the town.
Apart from not working well for retailers and the Council’s commercial ratepayers, Ms. Kavanagh said the financial implications of further reducing enforcement time must also be taken into account. The Council has entered into a contract with the pay parking contractor and, with the current reduced hours, it is envisaged that the cost of regulating parking in both towns will exceed the revenue generated. The Council cannot afford to subsidise costs. Regulated parking must be self financing.
The meeting heard that the area committee or the Council may have to make up any deficit by transferring money from another Council budget.
Cllr. Kevin Byrne suggested a meeting between officials and traders in Celbridge and Leixlip but Ms. Kavanagh questioned the value of that at this time.
Cllr. Senan Griffin said most town areas around the country gave some free parking at Christmas and that the Council had to break even on parking.
Cllr. Colm Purcell warned that over 250 free parking spaces on a new shopping area on the Dublin road would badly affect the village area but in Leixlip, regulated parking was bringing people to Tesco in Maynooth and Liffey Valley. “Leixlip business people are on a long white knuckle ride,” he said referring to a new planning application to extend Liffey Valley Shopping Centre.