Outdoor dining is to continue in Wexford during 2022 but some streets that closed last year, will not be included this time, due to a negative impact on other businesses and traffic flow around the town.
Henrietta Street may not be allowed to close, due to its strategic importance as an access point onto Wexford quays, although no decision has yet been taken.
The issue was raised by Cllr Leonard Kelly who asked if the local authority has a policy in place yet for on-street dining in the coming year.
“Just as we are hopefully getting Omicron numbers down, do we have a plan in place, and if no, can we put one in place. Did we every carry out the promised survey of business people.”
Borough Engineer Sean Kavanagh said the Council will be putting together a detailed plan for outdoor dining for the year.
District Manager Angela Laffan said outside consultants will most likely be engaged to survey the views of business owners.
She said some areas didn’t work as well as others in 2021 and it was intended to get the views of the commercial sector and develop an outdoor dining policy with councillors.
Council Deputy Chief Executive Tony Larkin said councillors should let officials know their views on the issue.
"Certainly, there is support in the chamber for an ambitious outdoor dining plan. In some areas, the impact on traffic and business was more than the gain.”
"We have decided we won’t impose fees for outdoor dining this year, the same as last year but we do need to get the balance right in terms of the impact on traffic of road closures etc.
"I think it would be reasonable to suggest the March meeting for a decision. The members have to be aware of their responsibility in getting the balance right.,”
Cllr David Hynes said he is all for business but he is also all for the town and he wouldn’t like to see a repeat of what happened last year in Henrietta Street, where one of the few access points onto the quay was blocked.
"I certainly won’t be in favour of it”, he declared.
Mr Larkin replied: “We will try and put together a proposal that we think will get the support of the members.