Originally Posted by RobAMerc
A decent size shopping centre could have been built on a site closer to the town centre. Where it is feeds into the car culture and when that's coupled with the stupid parking policies in the centre it literally drives people out of the centre.
Where exactly? All the land closer to the town centre was in use at the time. No one knew Sean Quinn was going to close the old Barlo Plant or that The Army Barracks would close. Places like the Clonmel Arms or the old Tesco/Quinnsworth are far too small. Even if they did manage to redevelop the town centre to accomodate the Showground shops where exactly would people park and how would the already creaking one way traffic system cope.
Most towns have their new shopping centres much further away. If you park around the swimming pool you are maybe 5 minutes from the far end of O'Connell Street in one direction and maybe 10 minutes from the Showgrounds in the other. That's not bad. In Limerick for example the shopping centres that are killing the city centre are a 45-60 minute walk away from their O'Connell Street.
Also many of the shops in the Showgrounds (Argos, M&S, Iceland etc) that would have struggled to find space big enough at a reasonable rent in the centre of town at the time that the Showgrounds was built. Remember the hassle there has been in Limerick finding a suitable location to meet the needs of M&S. This isn't a choice between O'Connell Street and the Showgrounds. These shops simply wouldn't be in Clonmel if it were not for the Showgrounds.
The showgrounds is a great addition to the town and is not to blame for the woes of retailers on the traditional main shopping streets. Rent, Rates, shambolic parking, confusing traffic flows, and the general economic collapse are higher on the list. While we can't do much about the economy there is plenty that the town can do to improve the business environment.