O'Connor Square can be used for social and community events without removing most of its parking, Cllr Dervill Dolan believes.
The Independent councillor has made a submission on the Tullamore Street Enhancement Plan recommending that O'Connor Square be enhanced as a multi-use square with level paved pedestrian and parking areas.
Cllr Dolan said that the square can be a focal point for the town of Tullamore designed to support local businesses, accommodate social and community events such as festivals and markets and enhance the general area of the town for the local community without making it a pedestrianised zone.
Cllr Dolan’s submission welcomes the enhancement proposals for Tullamore Town Centre from High Street to William Street to include road and footpath improvement works, undergrounding of overhead wires, new lighting and landscaping and improved access from Millennium Square at Main Street to the Bridge Centre carpark via a linking bridge across the Tullamore River.
However, he does not support the removal of all or substantially all of the car parking from O’Connor Square proposed in the 4 options included in the public consultation documents.
“Over the past weeks and months I spoke with local people who do their business and socialise in Tullamore and I also spoke with business people in the town centre about proposals to remove parking from O'Connor Square and it is very clear to me that a substantial majority of people want to see O'Connor Square enhanced but do not agree with proposals to pedestrianise the entire square and remove all the parking from the square."
Cllr Dolan said his submission on the proposed enhancement plan includes an indicative design prepared by an architect which accommodates new pedestrian areas in O'Connor Square and 46 paved parking spaces to support local businesses and provide parking for people who come into the town centre to carry out their personal and business activities. His proposal also provides for level paved pedestrian areas throughout the square and also facilitates two-way traffic through the square for continued access to Tanyard Lane and Bridge Lane.
“There is a strong view among the local people and the local businesses that I spoke with, that adequate parking of at least 40 car spaces should be retained in O'Connor Square as part of the town enhancement plans. With good design and landscaping, the council now have an opportunity, as part of the proposed €3m development plan for Tullamore Town Centre, to make O'Connor Square a multi-use focal point to accommodate parking and social and community events and also enhance the general area in the town centre for the local community and visitors to enjoy,” Cllr Dolan concluded.