Enfield Park and Ride plans proceed despite opposition

Meath County Council is proceeding with the plans for a park and ride car park in the centre of Enfield despite local opposition to the proposal.

Many locals feel it would be a missed opportunity to use the lands at the rear of the Enfield Community Hub for a car park and that it would be better served to provide a community amenity or 'Square' that would give a focal point to the area.

However, commuter parking has also been a long running issue in Enfield and while there is a car park at the train station at the other end of the town, it is under utilised due to there being a charge and some commuters are parking along the Main Street and also in some housing estates. It is also included as an objective of the current Meath County Development Plan.

The Council has intended for some time to provide a car park at the rear of the recently opened community hub but could not proceed while Enfield Community College was temporarily located there. Now that the school has vacated the site, the Council is moving forward with its plans and has commenced the statutory planning process.

Plans for the park and ride, which also include a plaza area on part of the site, are now on public display and members of the public have the opportunity to give their views by making a submission.

The part eight planning notice outlines details of the proposal which includes town centre car parking for access to local businesses; parking for the playground; re-located parking for the Enfield Community Hub; parking for access to public transport links; car charging facilities; bicycle parking; electric bicycle charging facilities; re-location of recycling facilities for safer access and CCTV. The plans also include an outdoor public plaza of approximately 1,200sqm to the front and rear of Enfield Community Hub.

When asked about their views on the proposal, Enfield Develop Group said it understood the proposal is an objective in the current County Development Plans but felt it was not in Enfield's best interests to go ahead with "an outdated plan for a car park".

"Enfield Development Group understands that as the Park and Ride proposal is an objective in the current County Development Plan, Meath County Council are proceeding with the Part 8 for the site. A Park and Ride here was first put forward for funding back around 2019 and so much has happened since then.

"The recent work done in Enfield for the Town Centre First initiative has led to a growing consensus that a car park would not be the best use for this site, and in fact would be very detrimental to Enfield, especially coming at a time where the majority of towns and cities are moving away from increasing the level of traffic and vehicle usage in town centres," the group said in a statement.

"EDG has always enjoyed a good relationship with Meath Co Council, whom we have found to be supportive and willing to listen. We are confident that when it comes to making a decision on this proposal, the Council Executive and local councillors will take on board the Town Centre First and Part 8 submissions, along with the recommendations of the Town Team and the professional consultancy firm employed by the Council to review the town, and they will quickly realise that it is not in Enfield's best interest to stick with an outdated plan for a car park here, just because it happens to be an objective in the Development Plan.

“The damage that will be done to Enfield from a car park at this location will be significantly more difficult to fix, than making a simple change to one objective in the Development Plan."

Meanwhile Cllr Ronan Moore who is a member of the Town Centre First Town Team urged local residents to make their voices heard in the process.

"For quite some time, the planned location of a Park and Ride in the centre of town has provoked heated debate amongst the residents of Enfield. Now we have been presented with a statutory process that allows people to make their thoughts formally known and I really hope everyone takes this opportunity to review the plans and submit observations."

The plans will be on public display until 19th October in the Enfield Community Hub from 9.30am-1pm on Mondays, 12.30pm to 3.30pm on Wednesdays and from 11am to 2pm on Fridays. They can also be viewed at Trim Municipal District Offices and the Council HQ at Buvinda House in Navan or online at https://consult.meath.ie Submissions can be made up to Friday, 3rd November in writing to Planning Department, Meath County Council, Buvinda House, Dublin Road, Navan, Co Meath, C15 Y291 or emailed to planning@meathcoco.ie.