File picture of Kildare town square
Kildare County Council is set to agree to the expansion of a popular public plaza area in Kildare Town.
Last year, Kildare County Council pedestrianised the car parking area of Market Square to promote social distancing during the public health emergency around Covid-19 — and the initiative has been very successful.
Councillor Suzanne Doyle has now called for procedures to be put in place to close off a portion of Bride Street that goes through Market Square during weekends and evenings.
The councilor said this move would help to support a safe successful outdoor public realm plaza. She added that this measure may be reviewed within year to assess its impact.
The council said it is currently developing a Transport Strategy for Kildare Town to support the future review of the Kildare Town Local Area Plan (LAP).
Officials said they were aware of the ambitions to close a section of Market Square during off peak traffic times and are currently investigating the impacts of such a proposal, both short term and long term.
A spokesperson added: “It is anticipated that the draft Transport Strategy, including proposals for temporary closures on Bride Street to facilitate Market Square, will be completed in the coming weeks.
“Subject to council approval, dates, details and resources regarding the proposed closures are to be agreed with the Kildare-Newbridge Municipal District engineer.
“Agreed road closure proposals are to progress through the formal road closure procedure, including advertisements and notifications.
“Monitoring of the closure is to be included as part of the process.”
The Fianna Fáil politician submitted a last minute motion on the issue to the monthly meeting of the local Municipal District.
The late motion was tabled under Standing Order 16 which deals with urgent business and has been submitted to the Mayor, Municipal District Manager and the Meetings Administrator.
Range of measures
The council is generally encouraging the use of public footpaths and public space for local businesses as part of a range of measures to help businesses operate during Covid-19 guidelines.
Cafes and restaurants are being encouraged to locate tables and chairs in outdoor spaces to allow customers to socially distance.
The council said business premises wishing to avail of public realm space can submit a Section 254 licence application to Kildare County Council requesting permission to use the additional public space outside their premises.
The fee for the licence has been waived and each application will be considered on its merits with businesses providing their own seating, benches or tables which will need to be removed at the end of each day.
Tourism and hospitality businesses can also avail of grant funding to assist with offsetting these costs.
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