Louth County Council say they will consider reintroducing pay parking to Ardee should locals want charges to be brought back in a bid to hit back against all day parking.
The statement was made by the council’s Director of Services Frank Pentony during a public workshop held on Thursday night tasked with gauging the opinions of local people on what Ardee Castle should be when it opens to the public.
While the main focus of discussion was on what kind of tourism and community amenity Ardee Castle could ultimately become, parts of the conversation soon turned to infrastructure and whether the town had the capability to facilitate increased numbers of tourists.
Both the lack so far of an Ardee bypass build and the issue of parking was raised by a number of local people, part of the 50 strong crowd in attendance at Muldoons, on Bridge Street.
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On the subject of parking, Mr Pentony said that “the only way you control the all day parking is to introduce some form of pay parking.
“If that is what the people in Ardee want, feed it through your councillors and Louth County Council will look at it.”
Mr Pentony remarked that parking “is an issue” and spoke about how the implementation of pay parking has advanced in recent years, with the help of available technology.
“It might not happen immediately. You can do it on your phone now. It’s easy,” he said. “The idea of pay parking – while it generates a bit of money for the council – is rotation. It gets people to move on.
“If people really want it and the will is strong enough, the council will look at it,” he said.
Since the abolition of pay parking in Ardee in 2014, there have been no traffic wardens working in the town with the responsibility of enforcing the parking bylaws falling on the local Gardai. However, Gardai say a lack of manpower means they are unable to regularly patrol the town.
The current bylaw states there is a two hour limit on the main streets in the town with a four hour limit in place on side streets – but it isn’t enforced and many drivers leave their vehicles parked in the town for much longer periods. A longstanding issue s that of commuters parking their cars in the town and then departing for work elsewhere.
Commuters will argue there are not enough parking facilities in the town where they can park their cars, leaving them with no choice but to park on main streets and near public amenities.