Govt blocks FF proposals to revive town centres – says Martin

26th November 2013

Cork South Central Deputy Micheál Martin has hit out at the Government
for blocking Fianna Fáil proposals to revitalise struggling town
centres in Cork and across the country.

The Fianna Fáil Bill, which was debated in the Dáil last Friday,
proposed the establishment of a Town Team in each local authority to
implement a town revitalisation plan. Fine Gael and Labour said they
would not be supporting it.

It’s part of a wider Fianna Fáil strategy, which sets out a bold new
vision on reviving town centres and supporting local businesses across
the country.

Deputy Martin explained: “The sad reality is that many town centres in
Cork and parts of the city itself are under threat. Crippling rents,
unsustainable commercial rates and the continued credit crisis are
strangling local businesses and forcing many to lay off staff or shut
down altogether. Meanwhile, high parking charges, large shopping
centres on the outskirts, and the cuts to local services and amenities
can often keep people away from the traditional town and city centres.

“Radical action is needed to revitalise our local towns and encourage
people back into the town and city centre. That’s what the Bill
debated in the Dáil last week was about. It seeks to establish a Town
Team in each local authority to oversee ambitious revitalisation

This Town Team will oversee:

– Revamping the Commercial Rates system

– Abolishing upward only rents

– Changing the parking charges structure

– Changing the planning laws to encourage town centre development

– Introducing new cultural initiatives to keep main streets busy

– Greater community engagement on planning strategy in towns

– A new Purple Flag Strategy on anti-social behaviour

– New financial tools for local authorities to invest in urban renewal.

Deputy Martin continued, “It’s deeply disappointing that Fine Gael and
Labour are not supporting a plan to give our local towns and cities a
much needed boost.

“Towns across Cork have lost many local services and amenities
recently, including local garda stations, bank branches, libraries and
local shops. Now, small schools and post offices are also under
threat. We need to start supporting our local towns, instead of just
undermining them,” the Cork Deputy said.

Attached is a copy of Fianna Fáil’s Town Centres Bill

pdf icon Local-Government-Town-Centres-Bill-2013.pdf

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