Cllr Joe Flaherty wants frank discussion on practice of parking levies in Longford town

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Cllr Joe Flaherty wants frank discussion on practice of parking levies in Longford town

The Xtravision premises in Longford town

Cllr Joe Flaherty has called for the local authority to look at the practice of applying parking levies on planning applications in respect of landmark vacant town centre properties.

The call comes after the grant of planning for an Insomnia coffee shop in the old Extravision premises which has been idle for eight years on Longford’s Main St.

Planning for the development was recently granted but only after a detailed submission which headed off a potential €50k bill for car parking spaces.

The applicants were requested to provide further information on how they intended to provide a car parking space for every 7sq metre of floor space.

Unable to provide those spaces, the developers would have been hit with €50k in development levies in lieu of the spaces.

“We are all well aware of the challenges facing retail and our town centres,” said Cllr Flaherty.

“To be asking developers to outline plans for parking spaces or provide levies in lieu of same on buildings that most likely have already generated parking levies on a number of occasions, is simply the wrong message to be sending out to potential investors.”

The Longford town based councillor said there is no issue with the provision of parking in the town with ample on street and off street options.

“The challenge is to foster a diverse and exciting retail mix whilst populating key vacant buildings. We have to tear down any impediments to these goals,” he said.

In a submission to the local authority in respect of the Insomnia development at No 72 Main St, it was highlighted that the Council has already been paid for and spent the financial contributions on the provision of a car park at the rear of Main St and Geraldine Terrace following an earlier grant of planning in 2003.

“Given the challenges town centres now face to re-apply parking levies on these buildings is a form of double taxation and is a serious disincentive to promoting enterprise, retail and hospitality,” Cllr Flaherty concluded.