The parklet at North Main Street, Naas
A number of local businesses have criticised the location of a parklet in the town centre of Naas.
The wooden structure - essentially an extension of the footpath with the aim of providing space and amenity - is one of a number planned for the town, as previously reported by Leinster Leader.
However Ambrose Donegan, owner of a nearby electrics and electronics retail business described the parklet as a “disgrace” and he said he felt ashamed.
“Kildare County Council said it would be in keeping with the area, but it's anything but. It's an obscene structure and no thought was given to the aesthetic appeal. It shouldn't be there,” said Mr Donegan.
He claimed that there are safety risks.
“What happens if a bus comes up the street and is unable to brake. If you look at the base it’s similar to a skip,” said Mr Donegan.
Mr Donegan said he has no objection to the loss of parking spaces so long as traffic is properly managed and he also praised the pedestrianisation project at Poplar Square.
“This (Poplar Square) obstructs nobody, an artistic approach was taken to it and there are no safety issues.”
A spokesperson for Brett’s Florist criticised the lack of communication from KCC.
“What concerns us is that the parking spaces will go and we need to be able to move produce into the shop. We hoped the council would come and discuss where the parklets would be located and what they’d be used for.”
The spokesperson stressed that anything that enhances Naas is welcome but the concern is the loss of spaces and “it’s impossible to park.”
The representative also said there is local concern about safety or possible vandalism at night or over weekends.
Restaurateur Vincent O’Leary said the loss of parking spaces means that people going to visit some businesses will have to make alternative arrangements.
“Our business is not directly affected but there are others which rely on people simply popping in out for very brief periods,” said Mr O’Leary.
He suggested that it would be better to utilise Poplar Square for this initiative and leave the street for parking. He said: “There is more room there for more seating.”
“As a lay person looking at it, it is unsightly and it looks like a skip on the side of the road.,” he said
There are proposals for five spaces at the Potato Market (near the Presbyterian church), along with two each at New Row, South Main Street, near Rustic and at North Main Street, near the Grá cafe.
The proposals emerged at a Naas Municipal District meeting last month, when councillors asked to be kept informed of these plans.
At a Naas Municipal District meeting this week, Cllr Carmel Kelly criticised the lack of consultation with local retailers.
KCC official Mairead Hunt said that the council is not obliged to consult; however the council was willing to conduct a survey and notifications can be issued through the County Kildare Chamber and the Local Enterprise Office.
Ms Hunt pointed out that age friendly or disability spaces near the Presbyterian Church would not be affected.
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