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RGDATA: Local Authorities To Blame For Town Centre Decline

RGDATA has said that local authorities around Ireland are 'all too often' demonstrating 'no vision for town centres', and many have 'doggedly pursued policies that have accelerated the decline of many formerly vibrant towns'.

RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley was speaking at a conference in Kilkenny organised by the Heritage Council on 'Realising the Hidden Potential of Ireland’s Towns'.

“Every week I hear from retailers who express their frustration at the approach of their local authority towards their town centres," said Buckley. "The Councils penalise people who want to park and shop in the town centre, while at the same time facilitating usually foreign multiples in out of town locations with free parking.

"The Councils are also the first with their hand out seeking rates and development contributions from town centre retailers when they extend or renovate their shops.”

Buckley said that the government has a key role to play in terms of providing guidance and direction when it comes to town centre renewal and regeneration.

“The regeneration of our towns and villages will not be achieved merely by hanging baskets and new paintwork. It will require a national approach which recognises the need for targeted incentive schemes to direct investment, a national town centre management programme and adherance to strategic planning policies."

RGDATA also called on local authorities to up their game in this area. "At the very least they should desist from pursuing traffic and planning policies which actually contribute to ripping the heart out of Irish towns”.

© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones

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