Traders say jobs will be lost unless sufficient carpark spaces are provided in the square.
Councillors have unanimously agreed to defer their decision on the controversial revamp of the streetscape of Carrick-on-Suir's Sean Kelly Square and West Gate area for a month and told Council management they want the draft plan amended to satisfy traders demands for more parking spaces.
Negotiations between the Sean Kelly Square/Westgate traders and Council have been taking place since last Thursday's meeting of Carrick-on-Suir Municipal District councillors when the y agreed to delay a decision on the Part 8 planning application.
The Co. Council Chief Executive's report on the draft Public Realm Improvements to Sean Kelly Square & Westgate presented to councillors at the meeting, made some concessions on parking spaces in Sean Kelly Square.
This followed the warning by local traders warned in March that the plan's proposal to remove all nine parking spaces from Sean Kelly Square and two parking spaces from the junction of Bridge Street and the Westgate would damage local businesses and lead to job losses.
District Administrator Martin Nolan told the meeting that the Chief Executive's report recommended proceeding with the Part 8 Planning Application as proposed but with the following changes: that parallel parking be allowed on the north side of Sean Kelly Square and a loading bay and disabled parking be provided on the south side of the Square.
He advised councillors they had six weeks to consider the CEO's report before deciding whether to approve the plan, approve it with amendments or reject the plan.
Carrick-on-Suir Cllr Kieran Bourke (FF) proposed that they defer a decision on the plan.
He said he wanted the plan to proceed but with amendments so they achieved a "win, win" for everyone.
Fine Gael Cllr Louise McLoughlin from Ballinure said she completely agreed with Cllr Bourke's proposal to defer a decision.
"We would like a further compromise for the business people in Carrick-on-Suir. They are the people keeping the town going," she told Council management.
Carrick Cllr David Dunne (SF) said he agreed wholeheartedly with Cllr McLoughlin and echoed her view that councillors were only seeking small amendments to the plan to enable everyone to buy into it so the Council can drive it forward.
He said the public realm plan for Sean Kelly Square needed to be promoted to the public properly and linked with the Clonmel to Carrick-on-Suir Greenway/Blueway. He hit out at some critics in the town who didn't believe Carrick could become a tourist destination.
"We need joined up thinking on how we sell this project.
“I am frustrated at some people and the lack of ambition they have for this town. It baffles me.
“There are people saying we can't be Westport, that we will never have tourists and can't be a tourist destination."
Cllr Dunne pointed out that retailing was changing and the town needed to be ahead of the curve. He also warned the public won't forget if councillors make the wrong decision on this plan.
Ballingarry FF Cllr Imelda Goldsboro said some changes to the plan need to be made in order for this project to progress in a positive manner
. Local businesses were the Council's rate payers and if they didn't have the footfall of customers they wouldn't be able to survive any longer, she warned.
District Chairman Cllr John Fahey said they needed to protect the rate payers and declared it was agreed to defer the decision.
The Sean Kelly Square and Westgate traders met with Carrick-on-Suir's two councillors at Cafe West at the Westgate last Wednesday to discuss the draft Public Realm plan ahead of the Municipal District meeting.
The meeting attended by about 25 people was chaired by Seamus Campbell of Carrick-on-Suir Business Association.
Westgate butcher John Hogan, one of the traders facing losing parking spaces outside his shop, said local businesses and councillors were working hard to reach a compromise solution.
Seamus Campbell of COSBA said negotiations were ongoing to try and come up with a resolution that will enable their members to support the Public Realm Plan
. He said the Business Association was trying to protect the 150 jobs based in the Sean Kelly Square and Westgate area and enable the businesses employing them to grow.
When the revamp of Sean Kelly Square and the Westgate area started down the road, Mr Campbell said COSBA planned to hire an expert to work with the Council to ensure the traders suffered the least disruption possible while the work was taking place.
He said COSBA will be lobbying for Sean Kelly Square to be designated the starting point for cyclists travelling on the Carrick-on-Suir/Clonmel Greenway.