Carrick-on-Suir Town Council will carry out alterations to its New Street Car Park to enable tour coaches to park there once it secures funding for the project.
Town Engineer Eoin Powell reported back to the Council’s December meeting that tests conducted at the car park using a bus showed it was suitable for accommodating these vehicles.
The Council decided to carry out the tests on foot of a motion Independent Cllr Patsy Fitzgerald tabled at the last Council meeting calling for the creation of bus parking spaces at this car park to attract more tour coaches to Carrick-on-Suir to visit nearby Ormond Castle and the town’s other attractions.
Town Clerk Michael O’Brien said the bus parking would be provided at New Street Car Park on a pilot basis.
He pointed out that the lack of coach parking spaces in Carrick-on-Suir had been identified as a big deficit for the town.
“If it doesn’t work it can be reversed fairly quickly. The only way to find out is if we have a stab at this,” said Mr O’Brien.
The Town Clerk added that there wasn’t any funding yet for the project but when it was secured he would come to the elected council with firm proposals. He believed the best time to carry out the changes to the car park would be before next April when Ormond Castle opened for the tourist season.
Fianna Fail Cllr Kieran Bourke highlighted to the meeting the concerns of residents on New Street about opening the entrance barriers at the car park to allow buses gain entry.
They feared opening the barriers would enable “undesirables” to go in and set up camp in the car park.
Cllr Bourke said he resented Cllr Fitzgerald stating that he had a pessimistic attitude towards coach parking at New Street. He was just making representations on behalf of residents, who were concerned that caravans will park across the road from them. Some of the concerned residents were elderly.
“I have no problem with this provided I get guarantees to safeguard against this happening in the car park.”
The Town Engineer stressed that the entrance barrier at the car park wouldn’t be taken down. It would be possible to open it during the day and close it at night.
Cllr Bourke asked what would happen if caravans went into the car park and the barrier was then closed?
“That happened in the past and when you lock them in they go very, very quickly after that,” Mr Powell responded.
Cllr Sylvia Cooney-Sheehan suggested the Council consult with the New Street residents when their plans for the car park were finalised to put their minds at ease. She believed the bus parking spaces at New Street had to be created. This project was on the table every year of her 13 years on the Town Council.
Cllr Fitzgerald said he would be very happy to consult with the residents. “I think this can work very well but if it doesn’t work just close it down,” he said.