Council reassures traders angry at impact of plaza construction

Mallow Town Council has given a commitment to minimise disruption caused by construction work on the town’s civic plaza. This follows a meeting on Tuesday with traders who have been alarmed at the fall-off in trade caused by traffic gridlock and lack of parking. A further meeting between representatives of the traders, town council and construction company is being held today, and a meeting is to be held every week to update traders on the progress of the work. Also, Cllr Dan Joe Fitzgerald stressed that Mallow is open for business. He also asked the public to support local traders “during these transitional times”.

Traders sought to meet the council after an alarming fall-off in trade caused by the plaza construction. Joe Buckley of Buckley Brothers on Tuckey’s Hill said that he had seen a big drop-off in business since the work started. “They [the council] should have thought of us first. It took a week to get a meeting with the council,” he said. Nora Kirby of O’Keeffe’s Newsagents said “It’s been tough”, referring to the lack of parking and the noise of construction. As a newsagent’s, O’Keeffe’s relies on parking for customers who pop in to buy their newspapers, and sales have fallen in recent weeks. Dee Foley of Dee’s Barbers has seen a definite fall in business. “January is usually a busy month but this January has been very quiet,” she said, adding that people are circling around the area looking for parking spaces. Derry Horgan of Horgans’ Fish Shop said the work had been very disruptive to trade. “It’s having a neg-ative impact on business,” he said, adding that he believed it was putting people off from coming into town.

Work on the plaza is expected to continue until May at least, and though good progress is being made, further disruption is expected. The next closure will be the laneway next to The Little Man, which is expected to be closed to cars and pedestrians from February 17th to March 17th, and the footpath from Impulse to Horgan’s Fish expected to close, though a date has not been set, to allow for the laying of cables and overhead wires. Bridewell Lane will also close for a time at some stage.

While traders have been experiencing problems, the other side of the coin is the traffic gridlock caused at busy times, and long tailbacks on the Main Street and other arteries have not been uncommon.