Reviving Our Town Centres

Mar 30, 2015

With a network of Chambers in every region across the country, we are keenly aware of the need for support to revive our town and village centres and create sustainable employment. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has just published Policy Options to Support Business Growth and Job Creation and Retention in Town and Village Centres and a number of Chambers Ireland’s recommendations have been taken on board.

Town and village centres are the heart of our communities, but many of them have been left decimated following the recession. Vacant lots and lack of funding for regeneration are just some of the problems plaguing our high streets. The recommendations in this report have the potential to really make a difference to local towns and support them to thrive economically once again. The report tackles long standing issues such as commercial rates and car parking charges, both of which would be a welcome relief to small business should they be implemented.

What is interesting is that the report also makes some new recommendations following on from models that have been successful elsewhere. A grant relief scheme to encourage businesses to take up vacant properties which was piloted in Limerick could be successfully rolled out across the country. The High Street Innovation Fund, an idea submitted by Chambers Ireland initially piloted in the UK, would award funding for innovative ideas to bring town centres back to life.

Ultimately, what is important is that all players in the local area work together for the good of their town. The local community, local businesses and local authorities all have a part to play in ensuring that our economic recovery reaches every town and village in Ireland and Chambers Ireland will certainly do our best to support their success. And if you are a local business, I urge you to get involved with your local Chamber if you aren’t already and play your part.

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