Centre ‘rigorously’ monitoring long-term car parking
By Maurice Garvey
PARKING at The Mill Shopping Centre is more “rigorously enforced” in recent times – the Clondalkin centre say it is necessary to free up space for customers and deter long-term parking.
A couple of motorists recently clamped at the car park, contacted The Echo claiming they were unaware of the clamping, having often parked at the centre before with no problems.
Mill Shopping Centre, Clondalkin
The car park has 800 spaces and currently has signs up displaying a maximum of three hours parking for customers.
Clamp release fees of €120 are managed by Nationwide Controlled Parking Systems (NCPS).
The Echo understands the centre is privately owned and was bought by an US investor in 2014.
Gerry Mulcahy, Manager of The Mill, said they were forced to take a more “pro-active” approach to deter long-term parking, having noticed cars were often parked at the centre for days and sometimes weeks on end.
“We are not trying to discommode anyone, but it got to the stage where a high proportion of people parking here were not using the shopping centre,” he said.
“You had people parking here and getting on a bus to go to work, and people were seen taking luggage out of the boot and getting on the Airport Hopper. We are not a public car park, but we are trying to be practical.”
Mr Mulcahy said parking enforcement has been in place since the centre opened in 1994, but more “rigorously enforced” in the last couple of years to free up spaces for customers, protect special needs spaces and combat congestion.
“The local trade here is very good, a key driver of that is our anchor tenant Dunnes Stores. We are very much a neighbourhood shopping centre but footfall is very steady, just under 50k per week and full occupancy. We want more people to shop here, not less.”
One resident recently clamped at The Mill was William Carey, a Sinn Féin area representative, who said he was conducting business at the civic centre and at the shopping centre.
“I am a regular customer in The Mill and understood there is free parking since its inception which has always been an attraction,” he said.
Mr Carey said he parked at the centre on the morning of Friday, February 22, at 8.40am, and attended a meeting with South Dublin County Mayor Mark Ward at Clondalkin civic offices across the road.
“I also meet my father for breakfast every Friday morning in The Mill after he has completed his business in the post office. This has been part of our routine over the past couple of years.
“At approximately 11.25am, I returned to my vehicle to find it had been clamped along with another car. I am concerned about the impact this will have on people doing business in Clondalkin.”
Mr Carey said he appealed his clamping to no avail, and questioned how one was supposed to validate their stay in the car park.
The Echo understands NCPS operate a mobile patrol at The Mill and manage other sites across the city.
Mr Mulcahy said the car park has a “huge amount of CCTV cameras” and they can go back and see footage in “extenuating circumstances” – otherwise enforcement is left to NCPS.
He said the centre did not wish to install barriers or ticket machines, as this could affect accessibility for customers, notwithstanding the costs involved to install and maintain the system.
It is his understanding there is no charge for parking under three hours, and parking enforcement is “not an issue” for the majority of customers shopping in the centre.
Staff at The Mill are due to be issued with parking permits this week.