Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A sideways look at the parking problem in Clonmel

As part of the Clonmel Chamber initiative, I am on the team concentrating on ways of improving the Town Centre. I am joined in this by Ken Hennessy (Hennessy Doyle Architects), Conor Moroney (Moroney Shoes) and Des Hourigan (permanenttsb Clonmel).
Ask any town centre trader what is the largest limiting factor on the town centre and most will answer insufficient parking.
The following car park facilities available in Clonmel at present:
Free All-day car-park at Gashouse Bridge
Reduced rate All-day Car-parks at Suir Island, The Quay/Anglesea St, Gordon Place
Regular pay Car-parks at Irishtown, The Quay, and Mary St/Town Centre

Up to now, the focus has been on the construction of a multi-storey in the town centre to cater for shoppers.
The Borough Council owned Mary St car park has been put forward as the best potential site... since I came back to work in Clonmel 24 years ago!
There are title and right-of-way difficulties which have precluded this site from being developed.

It may be time to re-appraise the entire problem and approach it from a different angle.
The Gashouse bridge site is wholly owned by the Borough Council, with no apparent title difficulties. It is currently used by office workers to park their cars for the whole day.
The reduced rate all-day car-parks at Suir Island, The Quay/Anglesea St, Gordon Place are used by largely the same people. These car-parks are very well located, close to the town centre.
If the Gashouse bridge site was developed as a multi-storey to house all the office workers, it would free up the car-parks at Suir Island, The Quay/Anglesea St and Gordon Place to be used as regular pay car-parks to facilitate shoppers.
This is a sideways look at the problem, but it may be a good one?

Let me know what you think.


  1. I don't think that there is insufficient parking in Clonmel. I do the weekly shop in Clonmel on a Saturday morning at around 8am, no problem with parking at that hour.

    The problem is that everyone rolls out of bed at the same time, and then decide to converge on the town.

    Any other time I go to Clonmel I always get a parking space between Mary Street and Upper Gladstone Street. Perhaps people will have to get used to the idea of not being able to park outside the shop they want to visit and try walking a little bit.

    It's going to be raining some of the time. I doubt that there are any plans to put an umbrella over the town so bring your own.

    Could the traders run an initiative that would encourage people to 'shop early' and avoid the congestion?. No parking charge between 8am and 10am would be great. If people could park and shop in comfort at this hour of the day it may bring back some of the armchair buyers that prefer to buy on-line.

    After 10am the charges for parking should be tapered. Very expensive in the centre of the town and decreasing, the further out from centre you park.

  2. That's a good idea Gerard, tapering charges would even out the demand for Main St parking, while the early-bird option would stretch the retail day. Any other suggestions?

  3. I suppose the reality is, that footfall in the centre of town will never be the same again. You have seen this with the movement of businesses to the outskirts of the town. Davis Road is going to reduce this further.

    The traders will have to come up with some novel ways of enticing the punters back to centre if they are to survive. It's hard to do this though when you have little or no control over some of your overheads.

    PS :Good idea with the Voucher Scheme, BTW.

  4. You might be right Gerard. To improve matters for all town centre traders, myself included,we have to be much more pro-active. The competition for retail spend is so much higher now than it was. We need to revitalise the town centre in a whole new way. More of the same is not good enough anymore. Thanks for the comments.