TULLOW town centre will end up as a “drive-thru like a McDonald’s” because its main public car park closed on Saturday, while a new plan for the town will ban any cars from parking on some of its key streets. Shop owners are furious at the latest development, with one business person, Tom Fox, who owns a butcher’s shop on Bridge Street, slamming Carlow County Council.
News emerged on Friday that the most central car park in Tullow town on the inner relief road was to be closed the following day because Carlow County Council wasn’t able to negotiate a new lease with its owners.
Director of services Dan McInerney told The Nationalist that the closure of the sizeable car park on the inner relief road presented the council with “a problem”.
“It was a good parking facility that could probably hold up to 100 cars, but it was never used to that extent. This (closure) poses a real problem to us because spaces like that don’t drop out of the sky,” said Mr McInerney.
Negotiations between the owners of the site and the council broke down over the terms of a new lease. Mr McInerney said that the terms of the new lease were “commercially sensitive” but it’s believed in Tullow that the owners were looking for a massive price increase. Parking issues will be exacerbated by a new town plan that will ban shoppers from parking on Bridge Street and restrict parking on Abbey Street and Hawkins Street, where many family-owned, independent retailers have long been based.
“The town will end up as a drive-thru like McDonald’s. It’s a complete fiasco of a thing,” fumed butcher Tom Fox. “These are very extreme measures. If people can’t stop and park outside our shops to buy their meat or their ice creams or whatever, our shops will go. The whole centre of the town is dead enough without this. It’ll end up with garages at either end and with nothing in the middle.”
The chairman of Develop Tullow Association, Eddie Corcoran, added: “We’re definitely disappointed to hear about the closure of the car park. It’ll definitely impact on business in the town. There’s only so much parking available in the town so it was very important to businesses here.”