Pay-parking in Ardee will be scrapped next February.
After a long and hard fought campaign by the Ardee Traders Association the town is finally free of the parking restrictions, the traders maintained were hitting business.
“This is wonderful news,” John Caffrey chairman of the traders said this week. “We are absolutely delighted.
“The pay-parking restrictions will cease at the end of February.
“We will also have free parking in the week leading up to Christmas, and that should also be a boost for trade.
“The new county manager came to Ardee and saw for herself how business was being affected.”
Cllr Fintan Malone, chairman Ardee Town Council, has also welcomed the move.
Cllr Jim Tenanty said it will be a great lift to the business people of the town.
An Ardee pay-parking pilot scheme was introduced after after pressure from the town’s traders association.
Louth County Council then agreed, in conjunction with Ardee Town Council, to introduce one hour free parking for about six months.
The scheme ran for longer than expected and ended in August after it was discovered there would be a shortfall in the town council’s budget because of revenue lost in pay-parking.
Under the pilot scheme it was agreed that the first hour of parking would be free.
At the time, Ardee Town Councillor Pearse McGeough welcomed the move.
“I welcome this move,” he said. “I believe that Joe McGuinness of Louth County Council has worked tirelessly on this and has tried to meet the traders concerns in every way possible.
“We are lucky to have him in the Ardee area.
“He is giving a huge commitment on top of his other duties with Louth County Council.
“I think everybody appreciates this. And I hope this compromise will be acceptable to all concerned,” Cllr McGeough said.
Ardee traders have expressed their concerns about the dramatic loss in revenue to Ardee business since the recession began and have maintained that a relaxing of pay-parking regulations would help alleviate the situation.
The new move could help put some life into the local economy at the most vital time of year and also help get the new year off to a fine start.
Many traders argued that it was difficult to meet commercial rates’ bills in a recession and pay-parking didn’t help.