Parking and traffic management in Portlaoise is hitting the town centre’s struggling businesses, according to a local businessman.
Tony Brown, managing director of Property Properly and Furniture Properly criticised the parking management systems in Portlaoise’s town centre.
“Our town centre should reflect the heart of the community as a place where people come together to engage in commerce, socialise and interact as both retailers and consumers. Laois County Council have introduced some incentives to entice customers back to the town centre. However, as a member of the business community in Portlaoise, what is in place is not enough and business people in the town continue to be penalised,” he said
He said a report by RGDATA on town parking management systems found that restrictive parking adversely affects town centres.
“It is so frustrating to our customers who exceed parking times by periods of ten minutes to come back and discover they have been hit with a substantial €40 punishment.
“We understand that the management of parking provision is imperative for many reasons such as ensuring that parking spaces are not used all day by commuters. We also know the income generated is an important source of revenue to the local authority,” he said.
Mr Browne urged the council to look at the current system which he said is contributing to “the demise of Portlaoise’s Main St”.
He said businesses want to engage with local authorities on the issue and he believed shoppers would be encouraged back to the town centre, which is suffering due to the direct competition it faces from larger retailers on the outskirts where parking is free.
Mr Brown urged Laois County Council to consider the three following solutions: Parking permits for business people with premises on the Main Street as part of their local authority rates; an extension of the current grace time to one hour; Businesses to be delivered one warning before being issued with a fine.