Council Accused Of U-Turn On O'Connor Sq. Parking

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Council Accused  Of U-Turn On O'Connor Sq. Parking thumbnail

INDEPENDENT councillor Dervill Dolan has accused Offaly County Council of doing a U turn on the future of O'Connor Square under a €3M Street Enhancement Project.
Among proposed improvements for the town, the Council is seeking to dramatically decrease the number of car parking spaces in the square.
However, it has now emerged that when Offaly County Council applied for funding for the project from the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, one option in particular was put forward by the Council as being the preferred option.
'Option A' as it is referred to, allows for a total of 40 car parking spaces in O'Connor Square.
The application, which has been seen by the Tullamore Tribune, states - Option A - 'Parking to either side of access route gives approx. 40 spaces (current 60). Option A is the preferred option of Offaly County Council with details to be determined at design stage.'
A drawing of the layout accompanies the Option.
The Council was successful in its application and was granted €1.5 million in funding from the Assembly. This is to be matched by the Council who will also contribute €1.5M making a total of €3M.
Cllr Dolan, in a statement released this week to the Tribune, has described the 'U-Turn' by the Council as a 'mystery.'
'It is very clear that the council's original grant application for the Tullamore Street Enhancement Project includes a preference for 40/45 car parking spaces in O' Connor Square and it is a mystery why the four design options issued by the council as part of the public consultation process removed all or substantially all of the parking from O Connor Square,' he pointed out.
Cllr Dolan added: 'I don't know why the council management and design team proposed substantial changes to the plans for O Connor Square from what was submitted in the original grant application and the correspondence received by the councillors does not indicate why the councils' original proposals for 40/45 car spaces in O Connor Square changed.'.
'Many of the local people and business people in Tullamore have very strong views that adequate parking should be retained in O Connor Square as part of the town enhancement plans and their views are very much in line with the council's preference in the original grant application for 40/45 car spaces in O Connor Square. The manner in which this project has been dealt with has caused unnecessary annoyance and frustration for the local councillors and for the local residents and business people in Tullamore,' Cllr Dolan stressed.
'With a well-designed development plan for Tullamore Town Centre, the council has an opportunity to make O'Connor Square a multi-use focal point to include adequate parking of 40/45 spaces and provide for markets and community events and also enhance the general area in the town centre' Cllr Dolan concluded.



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