The Temporary Covid-19 Town Centre Mobility Plan for Ennis, introduced by Clare County Council in response to Covid-19 and in line with Government guidelines on social distancing, is designed to support residents, the business community and all citizens to access Ennis town in a safe, socially distanced environment. The measures were required because Ennis town centre is characterised by narrow streetscapes and interconnected laneways with restrictive footpath widths.
In early May, Ennis Municipal District formed a stakeholder group comprising representatives from the business community (Ennis Chamber of Commerce, Retail Excellence Ireland, Vintners’ Federation of Ireland), the community (Older Persons Council, Ennis Tidy Towns, Disability Advocates, glór and Promote Ennis) and the wider public sector (HSE and An Garda Síochána) to set objectives and to review the operation of the various elements of the plan in line with Government guidelines around social distancing.
The remit of the stakeholder group is specifically and only for the purpose and duration of the Covid-19 crisis, to advise Clare County Council. The membership of the stakeholder group has been expanded to include all Elected Members of Ennis Municipal District to reflect the views of everyone.
Clare County Council has committed that the plan is a living document and will be updated and amended in line with risk assessments. The Council advised two weeks ago that a review was ongoing. This review examined traffic flows, footfall activity, the progression of the Covid-19 pandemic, and took account of all submissions to Clare County Council. The results of the review have been communicated to both the Elected Members and members of the stakeholder group and will result in changes to the hours of operation of the plan.
From Thursday, 24th September, 2020, the hours of operation of the traffic re-routing measures will change. The new hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Delivery times remain unchanged. This is to facilitate persons with reduced mobility to access the town using their vehicle. Businesses are also encouraged to facilitate this vulnerable group during these hours.
From 11:00am to 6:00pm, in the interest of pedestrian safety, parking in the affected streets is not permitted and will be strictly enforced from the outset. Parking enforcement will also be increased in the Market Street, entrance to Cabey’s Lane, and Summerhill areas of town.
Clare County Council also announced this week that the Cloister/GAA car park is now open, providing over 100 additional car parking spaces. Business parking permit holders are encouraged to avail of the parking in this area. The car park is also available for use by the general public.
These changes will be monitored against the progression of the pandemic and Government guidelines, which may result in an expansion or reduction in the hours of operation.
Clare County Council wishes to re-confirm that the Temporary Covid-19 Town Centre Mobility Plan for Ennis is not intended to be a permanent measure. The council further confirms that if, in the future (and outside of Covid-19), there is any proposal around permanent pedestrian-friendly measures for any streets in the town, this would be subject to full public consultation.