Pay-parking to be reviewed in Ardee

THE Ardee pay-parking pilot scheme which allows an hour’s free parking each day, will be reviewed in the next four to six weeks.

THE Ardee pay-parking pilot scheme which allows an hour’s free parking each day, will be reviewed in the next four to six weeks.

The area manager for Ardee, Mr Joe McGuinness, told members of Ardee Town Council that a review of the scheme will probably take place in the next four to six weeks.

He said there will be a shortfall in the town council’s budget if the money lost in pay-parking is not balanced by an increase in the payment of commercial rates.

After pressure from the town’s traders association Louth County Council in conjunction with Ardee Town Council agreed to introduce one hour free parking for about six months.

It was agreed that the first hour of parking would be free.This is a six-month pilot scheme. It means that when someone parks in the town parking bay the first hour will be free.

At the time, Ardee Town Councillor Pearse McGeough welcomed the move.

“I welcome this move,” he said. “I believe that Joe McGuinness 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.

The deal came after talks between the Ardee Business and Traders Association, Ardee Town Council and Louth County officials.

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 alliviate the situation.

The opportunity to raise the issue came when the parking by-laws were due to be renewed.

The traders had originally asked for two hours free parking daily for people coming to shop in the town.

Pay-parking starts at 9.30pm each day and finish at 1pm on Saturdays during this six-month trial period.

The pay-parking deal helped the Christmas trade in the town according to the Ardee Business and Traders Association.

“Trade was slightly up on last year,” a spokesperson for the traders said.

“There is no doubt that the one-hour free parking system has contributed to that.

“As well as the hour-free parking, we had free vouchers for everyone who came into the shops, so all-in-all things were good.”

People did not want to come into Ardee and pay for parking.

The pay-parking changes have helped put some life into the local economy at the most vital time of year, and this has put many people in a position to pay a rates instalment.

The rates collection in Dundalk is down to 52 per cent and the town council there has reduced the pay-parking rate to help get more people shopping in the town.