Sunday 22 September 2019

Bus Connects: 'It's going to take heart and soul out of the village and make it a thoroughfare' - say local shop owners

Bus Connects Special Report

Fears: Nikki Van Loon outside Templeogue Decor. photos: mark condren and kyran o’brien
Fears: Nikki Van Loon outside Templeogue Decor. photos: mark condren and kyran o’brien
Kimmage Party Shop owner Lyndon McNulty. photos: mark condren and kyran o’brien
David Gavin at KCR Builders Providers in Kimmage. photos: mark condren and kyran o’brien

Aine Kenny

Nikki Van Loon is a designer at the Templeogue Decor store in Templeogue village.

She said she is not against improving public transport but in her view there are serious problems with the Bus Connects plan.

"It just seems like sacrificing the community and local businesses for the one aim of getting people in and out of the city as quickly as possible," she said.

"Our product is not easy to transport. You might be buying 10 litres of paint and trade customers would be buying even more. They need parking. Without parking outside, we wouldn't exist."

The proposals, according to Ms Van Loon, will take away a lot of parking from the local area. "It's just going to take the heart and soul out of the village. This plan will make it a thoroughfare," she said.

"Quality of life will be affected. I think of vulnerable people, older people, people with reduced mobility, kids on bikes... I just think there has to be another solution, like an underground."

Ms Van Loon believes a percentage of the parking in the area will be lost which equates to 10-15 spaces in total. "Outside Templeogue Tennis Club all parking is being lost. O'Brien's off-licence is losing some too. They say they will build a car park further away to compensate for the loss," she said.

Kimmage Party Shop owner Lyndon McNulty is not happy about the plan.

"I have a retail unit on a busy main road, with parking outside. We bought this unit because of where it was located - it was a great area," Mr McNulty said.

He opened the shop during the recession and fought hard to survive. However, now he feels a lot of passing trade will be jeopardised by Bus Connects.

"Our rates have doubled in the last two to three years. Now we just feel like we will be getting less than what we are putting in. This plan will be really bad for business," Mr McNulty added.

"Currently, the party shop has dedicated parking right outside the door. This is essential to our business - we sell balloons and banners."

David Gavin, managing editor of KCR Builders Providers, has a different spin on Bus Connects.

He said "yes and no" when asked if he was in favour of the plans as they currently stand, adding: "The initial day-to-day running of the businesses will be affected. You'll have less cars going into the city, so you might have less business."

However, Mr Gavin added that he was in favour of having less traffic congestion in the city.

Irish Independent

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