Throughout the debate on New Street, the Chamber has sought to bring in all opinion and pass that on to Fingal County Council and the local Councillors in as balanced a manner as possible.
Last week we meet with Fingal officials and Councillors Eoghan O’Brien, Anthony Lavin and Jimmy Guerin as part of the Stakeholder group consultation.
In the interests of transparency, our submission to the Council is published below.
19th May 2021
On behalf of the businesses represented by the Malahide Chamber of Commerce, we make the following submission based on our understanding of the broad views of business in the town.
While we welcome the opportunity to submit our views, we are concerned about the purpose of this consultation if the Council has pre-determined the substantial issue when it states, “Fingal County Council is committed to the permanent pedestrianisation of New Street”.
This is clearly an objective that predates Covid 19 and will have a long-term effect on the town well after the pandemic. For that reason alone, residents and ratepayers should be afforded a proper opportunity to be consulted.
In the previous Public Realm document, a different vision was proposed for New Street and not seeming to link to that contribution by many in the community, including the Chamber, has heightened concerns about what is happening.
Our general points are:
Joined up thinking
Any plan for New Street, should be part of an overall plan for the town. We set out in the next points many of those concerns.
The Council has demonstrated its own recognition of the importance of car parking in its own commercial activities at Malahide Castle. In the meantime, parking has been reduced in Malahide village. We do not want to draw additional cars to the town but we have a shortage at the moment.
We suggest the following:
• Bridgefield car park to be expanded by 100 spaces. At the same time, it be changed from Pay and Display to a barrier system to allow users more ease and time flexibility.
• Car Park signage added to directional signs.
• Electronic signs added to show available spaces in the Bridgefield car park. This would help stop cars circling the village looking for scarce spaces.
This is a problem for the Village, especially when visitors try to access Malahide. We ask that a plan for traffic flow improvement be part of any development at New Street that impacts the availability of road space. Also, we ask that Malahide (and Portmarnock) be provided with a relief road similar to that in other Fingal towns.
There are plans for a cycleway to come through Malahide and link to Donabate. No plans for how this is to be achieved have been presented but these should be part of any major change to New Street, especially if impacts in any way on car parking spaces and traffic.
The very attractive redesign of Malahide Green has, as presumable intended, drawn the public to this space. If New Street were to also become pedestrianised, this would create even more public space in the town. We would want to see a policing plan as part of this scheme so that these spaces may be enjoyed in peace and without fear. Recent events have shown that even in a period where there is no alcohol being sold on the street, there is a risk of anti-social behaviour. Any investment in the town should be protected by a corresponding policing plan.
The Chamber realises that times change. Progress must not be impeded when it is sensible, logical and generally accepted by the community. From our own consultation with businesses, we have put together the following points on the pedestianisation of New Street.
• There was a consensus that a reduction to a one-way traffic system would be the best option.
• The current layout is confusing and visually unappealing.
• No detailed plan of what the Council propose has been presented.
• No commitment of funding has been presented.
In any consideration of changes to New Street we ask that the following important items be taken into account:
• Any on street dining furniture should be provided by the licensee. This furniture should be allowed on the street between agreed hours and then removed in the late evening. Such arrangements should not extend beyond the front elevation of the licensee property and be insured by the licensee. Furniture style and other considerations to be part of the licencing agreement, especially with respect to our Heritage town designation.
• The cost of on street licences should be the same for all businesses in Malahide, whether on New Street or not.
• Licences should cover any on street trading activity and strictly define the area covered.
• Bye Laws should be amended to control the sale and consumption of alcohol on the street (and the Green).
• If any part of the street was fully closed, it should also be closed to cyclists unless dismounted to protect pedestrians expecting to be able to walk freely.
• Allowance needs to be made for resident’s access.
• Allowance needs to be made for deliveries.
• A plan for accommodating taxis needs to be part of any scheme but not at the cost of scarce car park spaces.
• Consider how any change to the bus route can be accommodated.
Whatever the final decision, we as a Chamber, will work positively to achieve the best possible result.
Development Plan 2023-2029
The Chamber has also made the following submission to the Fingal Development Plan 2023-2029.
We have concentrated on asking for much better long term thinking and joined up schemes.
Submission in respect of the Fingal Development Plan 2023-2029 from Malahide Chamber of Commerce
To whom it concerns:
Malahide Chamber of Commerce, representing the businesses of Malahide, wish to make the following submission in respect of the Fingal Development Plan.
1. Malahide has a large number of businesses, Financial Institutions, Profession Services, Retail, Tourist and Food and Beverage providers. These businesses require not only the support of the population of Malahide, they rely on clients/shoppers from the greater Fingal Region in order to survive. Malahide is a destination and for many who wish to come to our Village there is no appropriate public transport.
2. Due to significant residential development on the outskirts of, and approach roads to Malahide, there is significant barriers of entry and exit to the Village for car users. This has worsened since the closure of New Street to through traffic and will continue to deteriorate when road carriageway is taken for more cycling routes. We believe that this will push businesses to cease trading in the village.
3. Malahide is a destination and for many coming from Sutton, Donaghmede, Coolock, Artane, Clonshaugh, Swords and the North County, public transport or cycling is not an option. Recent plans for Malahide strip more and more car parking spaces from the Village meaning that these visitors will stop coming or go to easier, more accessible destinations.
4. We would request the following be considered as part of this plan:
-the planning of a relief road around Malahide and Portmarnock similar to that provided to other Fingal towns and Villages.
-the reinstatement of all parking spaces removed from the village and the provision of an extra 100 in Bridgefield.
-Proper and ongoing consultation between Fingal County Council and the stakeholders regarding a holistic approach to the development of our public realm.
-the widening of approach roads to Malahide, from Balgriffin, Kinsealy and Swords to allow for off carriage cycleways and cut ins for buses to take on/drop off passengers without disturbing the traffic flow.
-the commencement of an immediate traffic survey by an independent body to determine where further improvements to access can be achieved.
-consideration that life after Covid may require reversal of some changes made forsocial distancing purposes and that Covid provisions may not be appropriate in 2023-2029.
-Promotion of our Town as a Heritage Town. This would include special attention to the town centre, business facades, street furniture and planning considerations.