Background to this Survey
In Q4 2020, Galway County Council granted permission to a number of businesses in Clifden Co. Galway to establish outdoor seating on parking spaces outside their business. These licences were granted under section 254 of Planning and Development Act and are known as Section 254 licences.
These licences lapsed in January 2021 and the Galway County Council is considering the granting of new licences for 2021. The Council asked the Chamber to assist the Council with respect to the licences. The Council has had a significant amount of correspondence from businesses in the town regarding these licences and it is keen to gauge an appetite for similar licences this year with the businesses of the town and has written to the Chamber with the following request:
In response to the request to consult the entire business community of Clifden, Chamber conducted a survey:
This survey is now closed.
Survey Results & Data
In April 2020, Connemara Chamber carried out a survey of the businesses of Clifden to seek to views of the businesses of the town in regards to Parklets / Section 254 licences. The following are the results of the survey along with the background.
- Surveys completed and returned: 49 (3 by email & 46 online, of which 1 was a tester and 1 was ineligible)
- Response rate: 39% (49/125)
Any Further Comments on Survey and by email
- Great idea but a max of 2 parklets per street.
- The paid parking rules will need to be enforced in conjunction with this initiative if it goes ahead again.
- We need to provide alternative parking for visitors at either end of the town to alleviate the car par feel in town during peak seasons
- Pubs and restaurants will need outdoor space they wouldn’t have planned for until Covid restrictions were applied so these need to be considered
- The addition of outdoor seating areas can only be a positive thing for our hospitality sector (upon which tourism depends) and will bring much-needed life and vibrancy back to Clifden.
- There is not enough parking in town during the summer as it is so removing any would cause more issues.
- I dont see parklets being a long term solution, however they may enable an otherwise nonviable business to trade this summer.
- Any consideration should limit parklets to restaurants or bars which rely on food/dining (not pubs), and not to retail outlets or shops. Approval should be sought from more than immediate premise
- Parking in Clifden is a problem already. This will cause so many problems.
- Overall the concept deserves consideration but it would be better if the council had a plan to provide extra parking elsewhere in town to make up for the spaces being lost to outdoor seating .
- Good afternoon I would prefer if there was a widening of the footpaths and then communal seating eating areas like in between Upstairs Down stairs and Off the Square restaurant but not to lose 4 spaces
- The opportunity to operate this year with a Section 254 license would make a significant contribution to assisting a small business like mine through this difficult period.
- I work with people who have compromised mobility, they need access to car parking nearby as they can’t walk farm and circling town for a space is distressing for them in peak season. Many thanks.
- I think it’s a great idea to have more seating outdoors
- Overall I like outdoor seating…concern would be size of area and blocking off pedestrians…
- Think it’s a great idea for the town
- One pubs seating leaves almost only a metre to pass. Shouldn’t be allowed.
- I would prefer if the council would explore areas for more parking which is the real issue. Also for all rates paying business should get a permit for free parking, for the Amounts we pay
- They will work well as long as tourists are made very aware of the existing large parking lots at the Station House and Super Valu as they drive into town (not a half an hour after looping the town)
- Outdoor seating on footpaths is a good idea. I don’t agree with using car park spaces for any other use than parking cars. Street parking of cars is valuable and essential. There is also safety concern
- We agree that hospitality need some assistance but not at the expense of retail. What provision will there be for replacing the lost parking spaces?
- Parklets could potentially mean the difference of a business surviving or a business closing down. We dont want to lose any local business. Parking shouldnt be seen as more important than businesses
- Loss Parking spaces peak season, infringement on neighbouring businesses, otherwise good. Completion Ball Alley Park would be welcomed, Cleaning and maintenance of public area vital.
- 2 on main street, 2 on market street – two car park spaces wide each. They should also go to food based businesses only. April to October only.
- No issue with parking
- Parking spaces are vital to my business 12 months of the year. Lose of parking space = lose of earnings and employment which contributes to the social economical issues which are abundent already
- I agree in principle with certain businesses having outdoor seating. However it is essential for my clinic that i have adequate parking for patients outside my clinic as many have issues with mobility
- parking is always a problem, outdoor seating necessary so long term plan essential.
- The opportunity to operate this year with either a Section 254 license or similar special COVID 19 temporary street furniture licence would make a significant contribution to assisting a small business like mine through this difficult period.
COVID 19 has hit the hospitality sector very hard and to be able to avail of road space outside my cafe for seating would be invaluable.
In my opinion any application for any section 254 license should only be issued as a temporary measure to help hospitality businesses operate under social distancing guidelines as the sector reopens. These licences would only need to be issued on a four -month basis in summer 2021. A longer term plan including exploring central locations for outdoor seating and outdoor activity should be looked into at a later date maybe in conjunction with an overall town’s enhancement plan.
In order to retain an adequate number of parking spaces in town I believe that first priority should only be given to hospitality businesses which are correctly registered with the HSE as a food business, and have no current outside seating/dining option such as too the rear of premises. This would enable COVID hit catering businesses to avail of road space outside to assist with the requirements of social distancing while protecting some parking.
- Very serious concern about loss of parking spaces to the town centre which outside of July & August will lead to long term damage to businesses in the town
- Whilst in principle we are in favour of outdoor dining, the loss of car parking spaces in the town centre we do believe will have a negative effect on the businesses of the town in the long term. This should be reconsidered in September.
The town is fortunate that it does have “a traffic and parking” problem for approximately 6 weeks of the year, there are many many towns throughout the country who would love to have this problem.
It is important that we don’t solve a 6 week problem and create a 40 plus week problem for all the other businesses in the town that remain open all year round by limiting the availably of car parking spaces.
- We are strongly in favour of any of our local businesses doing what they can to help their business survive these horrendously difficult times. We have a very busy shop in Clifden but we are not worried about losing some parking spaces on our street. We are far more concerned about losing other businesses on our street. If allowing restaurants to serve food in parklets outside their business will help them to survive we believe that they should have the full support of The Chamber of Commerce and The Galway County Council. The last thing any of us want is to lose any businesses in our town.
We also do not understand “a central locations for outdoor seating and outdoor activity”. The council has not once mentioned this to me as a possibility and I also do not see how this could possibly help any of the businesses.
We believe it is the responsibility of The Chamber of Commerce to do what it can to support local businesses. These parklets could potentially mean the difference between a business surviving or a business closing down. We do not want to lose any local business.
- For outdoor dining on the street it would not be possible without the street being pedestrianised, suggest we leave as is with businesses having their outdoor dining on the footpath in front of their businesses and widen the footpath to accommodate this as they are doing in Dingle.
The only central area for outdoor dining in the town is the Square and businesses already put their furniture in front of their buildings and use it, and this works as long as they are kept to just in front of their business. The Square is the only Community gathering area in the town and when it is used for events it is great and should be kept for this, also for people just sitting their chatting and meeting etc. The only central place I can see for outdoor seating is if it was incorporated into the Ball Alley/Harbour Plan with partially covered outdoor seating area for people to use with take away food from the different businesses.
In the requirements for applying for a licence I think it is not balanced or fair to get letters of approval from the adjoining businesses for two reasons. For those who want to have outdoor dining and the adjoining business refuses, then they are immediately in an unfair position. For adjoining businesses who are not in favour of having outdoor dining on the street but who get on well with their neighbour who wants to have outdoor dining, it is putting them in a very difficult position to object to same.
- I strongly agree – no 10 that Section 254 licences are a great idea for the town and will make it look more inviting for tourists and day trips.
- I have a GP’s surgery and a pharmacy nearby where it’s appreciated, that their customers can stop and pick up the medicine needed.
Additionally on the other side I do have the only family butcher in town, who says that he has customers who want to support him, but only if they find parking nearby.
In normal summer seasons, parking is a well looked after ‘commodity’ here in town., therefore where is the new parking space after the existing parking is going to be taken by outside dining facilities?
Finally, I do have in my backyard a green stretch of about 30m (see picture) south facing, actually up to Market Hill. It’s my plan to develop this sooner or later – with about 3 different terraced levels and with a pergola like cover. But since that stretch isn’t levelled it’s a bigger task.
I am certainly happy if existing grants could get earmarked on such a new outside dining in the green and keeping the peace among the neighbours.
Verification of Submissions
To ensure full transparency and openness, the Survey Results can be viewed in full at the Chamber Office during our office hours. Please contact Ann at [email protected] for opening hours and current office location.
We are working hard on making our businesses database as accurate and compete as possible. If you did not receive a survey link by email or post, please let us know by calling 089 9526795 or emailing us with your business contact details on [email protected] so that you can be included in future correspondence and surveys.
- Connemara Chamber will write to Galway County Council with the anonymised results of the survey along with our comments and assessment of the data.
- Please note: The Chamber has no role whatsoever in the allocation of Parklets/Section 254 licences including the quantity of licences that should be issued, who gets such licences or where they should be placed.
- Survey opened on 8/4/2021. Closed 5pm 14/4/2021.
- 125 of businesses notified of survey:
- Survey sent to all businesses in Clifden (members and non-members)
- Survey received prior approval from Connemara Chamber committee
- Survey received prior approval from Galway County Council (Planning Office)
- Survey circulated via:
- Hand delivered letters
- Follow up phone call to any business we had no email address for and were unable to hand deliver letter to
- Notification of survey done via:
- Chamber website – see notice -> https://connemarachamber.ie/parklets-survey-for-clifden/
- Local Business What’s App Groups
- Hand delivery to those who didn’t respond to email
- Interview with Connemara Community Radio
Survey Format & Questions
- Survey conducted by Google Forms
- Survey completed by post also accepted.
- Three simple questions with space for any other views or comment respondents wished to express.
- Survey T&Cs
- Name & business name – Required
- To be completed no later than 5pm on 14/4/2021
- Any data submitted was subject to and will be protected by all relevant Data Protection legislation and is only being collected to ensure the integrity of the survey
- Only one response per business is permitted.
- Any additional commentary made would form part of the survey
- You may complete the survey manually by returning the attached paper form to Ann de Courcey (administrator) We ask that if at all possible you complete the on-line version.
- Email Address*:
- Please enter your name and business name*:
- Do you believe that section 254 licenses are a good idea for the town as a whole?
Strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Strongly agree
- Is the loss of car-parking caused by the Park Lets an issue for you?
Strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Strongly agree
- Would you prefer if the Council and Chamber explored a central locations for outdoor seating and outdoor activity?
Strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Strongly agree
- Any further comments*
Free text area – 200 words