A NEW organisation calling itself the Concerned Businesses Association (CBA) has been formed in Castletownbere to oppose key elements of the town’s transportation study.
The organisation, which says it represents 46 local businesses and sole traders, was formed on Tuesday, October 2nd – one day after the revised study was endorsed by councillors at a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District.
The Association’s PRO, Finbarr Harrington, told The Southern Star that the majority of businesses in the town – including ‘all’ the businesses in the town centre – are very concerned about the proposals contained in the study.
He said they believe the plan in its current form will have a detrimental effect on their businesses, and he said they repeatedly met with Aecom and public representatives to try and find solutions.
CBA said the plan to build up the town square will reduce parking spaces and this will have a very negative effect on businesses. But Eoin O’Mahony of Aecom said there will be 121 parking spaces in a two to four-minute walk from the square at the new Department of Marine car park.
CBA said a large portion of parking on Main St will be removed, but Mr O’Mahony said there will be 56 dedicated car parking spaces on Main St instead of illegal parking on footpaths, and that loading bays will be provided.
The Association also said the proposed by-pass will divert all traffic around the town from East to West and will be a disincentive for visitors to stop in town.
The solution, they said, would be to leave traffic through the town from the east and change the direction of the relief road to allow excess traffic from the west bypass the town.
But Mr O’Mahony is of the belief that the relief road would encourage more visitors to stop because it will be easier to park and get access.
The Association said the plan to pedestrianise Garden St would restrict access to the fire station and local businesses, but Mr O’Mahony said it would make a more welcoming entrance to the town square from the bus stop.
The Association held a public meeting this week to further highlight their concerns and formulate a plan.