UP to 50 Fermoy traders have signed a petition threatening to withhold commercial rate payments due in 2013 in a row over the loss of up to 20 town centre car parking spaces.
The petition was handed over to Fermoy Town Council at last Tuesday night's meeting of the local authority by local business owners Annette Barnes and Mike Walsh.
The traders were left fuming this week after the National Roads Authority (NRA) began work on a traffic calming scheme in the town centre, which has resulted in the loss of up to 20 onstreet car parking spaces.
Speaking to The Corkman Ms Barnes said that local traders were furious over the loss of the spaces, particularly so close to the busy Christmas season.
"Parking has always been a big issue in Fermoy. As traders we recognise that the town cannot afford to lose valuable on-street parking," said Ms Barnes.
"The fact that so many traders are willing to withhold rates payments for 2013 is a sign of the anger they feel. This is no idle threat. We believe that the loss of more on-street car parking spaces will lead to the closure of more businesses in Fermoy," she added.
Fermoy town clerk Pauline Moriarty said that town councillors had been informed of the proposed work schedule by the NRA last August.
"This is in the hands of the NRA as the works are taking place on a national route," said Ms Moriarty. "However, I have arranged an urgent meeting between the town council and the NRA, during which the concerns of the traders will be discussed."