‘Save Malahide Village’ group want New Street reopened

A PILOT project to pedestrianise parts of Malahide has met stiff opposition from some locals who claim it is putting business at risk rather than boosting it.

Fingal County Council’s car ban on New Street has hit a major stumbling block as the ‘Save Malahide Village’ campaign gains momentum.

The scheme sees one of the town’s main commercial thoroughfares closed to traffic in a bid to promote walking and cycling, and support social distancing.

But more than 40 businesses and many households in the area are now displaying red and yellow posters in their windows to declare their opposition to the car ban.

Protesters want the street re-opened with a view to having a full public consultation about the plans, which they say were borne out of a “one-sided narrative”.

Local businesses, including advocacy group Shop Malahide, and frustrated residents are taking action because they feel the council was not listening to them.

Shop Malahide co-founder Aine McCabe told Dublin Gazette: “The pedestrianisation of New Street has a wider effect than simply closing a road for people to walk on.

“It impacts on traffic flow around the village, public order, and business. Parking, while a peripheral issue, is also a concern.

“The narrative put forward by Fingal County Council didn’t acknowledge that there had been inadequate public consultation and gave the impression that the change was being universally welcomed.

“We have very real concerns that need to be heard and so decided to challenge that narrative. We are not against change, we just want the right change, for our village.”

Shop Malahide co-founder Trish Murtagh said it seemed “irresponsible and highly insensitive” to introduce the measure as traders struggle during the Covid-19 crisis.

She said: “Having a trial in these uncertain times and very difficult circumstances can give an understated or false impression of what the effects of this change will be.”

Ms Murtagh, a business owner and rate payer in the town for 27 years, also questioned just how temporary the scheme will be.

Residents also expressed their concerns at the impact the pedestrianisation was having on their quality of life, in particular primarily residential Old Street.

Alternatives put forward by the group include leaving the street open to traffic but removing parking for wider paths, or closing the street for periods at weekends.

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