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*The Market House in Scariff. Photograph: Martin Connolly

PLANS TO add a car park to Scariff in a three-part regeneration project for the town is getting the “most priority” with an agreement nearing completion for its acquisition.

An update on the Scariff rural regeneration project which includes the provision of car parking was sought by both Cllr Pat Burke (FG) and Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) at this month’s sitting of the Killaloe Municipal District.

Acting senior executive officer in the Killaloe MD, Morgan Lahiffe explained that the project includes a proposed car park, multi-service centre hub and a public realm upgrade to the Market House and Fairgreen.

He confirmed that the purchase of land close to the town centre to serve as a car park was ongoing as a property acquisition with Clare County Council surveying and building design options. Lahiffe was hopeful of submitting a Part VIII application “in the coming months”.

Public realm design concept has been completed for the Market House and Fairgreen, he confirmed. “We intend to now develop out these concept designs into working designs and contractual documents over the coming months”.

Agreement and funding is in place within the local authority to purchase a property for the multi-service centre which remains at design and survey stage. The acquisition is ongoing with a Part VIII application also earmarked for the coming months.

“We are all aware and concerned with parking in Scariff,” Cllr Cooney outlined while expressing worry the wait will be “a long time” if the works are to be done as part of the RRDF application. He pushed to have the application completed by the end of 2022 so that it would be in place by 2023. “I know you can’t give dates in fairness but it is essential, pressure is coming on us to do something with parking in Scariff, it’s coming to a crisis point,” the O’Callaghans Mills man stated. “Car parking has to be pushed forward because businesses are suffering with a lack of parking on certain days”.

Pressure from the general public has intensified since the closure of the post office in Whitegate, Cllr Burke admitted. “My own mother an elderly woman won’t drive to Scariff because of the lack of parking,” he said.

Inclusion of the car park in the original application was positive but Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) welcomed the move to ‘take it out of the bundle’ to try deliver a result quicker. Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF) observed, “It’s not just one slice of cake this is the whole cake and it is good to get it all together”.

Landowner co-operation to enable the Council to acquire both sites was acknowledged by Lahiffe. He admitted that the car park was the main objective of the three “and has the most priority, recognising this we’ve changed tact a little bit and pushed it forward through pre-planning and design quicker than we anticipated”. A separate fund may have to be utilised to progress the car park, he flagged.

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