Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD has today (25 April) published the Framework for Town Centre Renewal in Sligo. The framework sets out the key characteristics of a successful town centre and identifies existing supports and best practice examples from around the country.
The framework also includes an Action Plan for Town Centre Renewal which is intended to be a blueprint for towns and villages, guiding them through the three stages of town centre renewal: carrying out a town centre health check, forming a local steering group or Town Team that is representative of key local stakeholders and preparing a Town Centre Plan.
Speaking after the launch, CEO of Retail Excellence David Fitzsimons, said, “Retail Excellence has been to the forefront in terms of developing policy in this area and advising town committees, Chambers of Commerce and Local Authorities on how to get the best from town centres, encouraging people to comeback, developing an evening economy and enhancing the quality of experience for local citizens. So, we are delighted to see our efforts recognized by the Minister who singled us out for our valuable contribution.
“In 2012 Retail Excellence conducted the largest ever review of our towns focused on what citizens want from a town. The key findings of this review helped frame our internal policy on this issue which we subsequently shared with the Department which was subsumed into today’s Framework document. Ultimately, the town offer is fundamentally important. You can pay people to park in a town but if the offer is not right they won’t come.
Fitzsimons added, “Towns are fundamentally important in society. They are a place where a community congregates. A meeting point. And the retail industry is an essential part of them in terms of helping provide vitality and competitiveness. In recent years, we have noticed that citizens want midweek convenience and weekend experience – a town must aim to provide both.
“This framework is essential to help towns determine the future direction of their place. We want to commend Minister Mitchell O’Connor for her work on this issue and for putting forward this plan which will undoubtedly help accelerate the revival of many towns,” Fitzsimons concluded.
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