Comment: Revitalising town centres

THE problems facing town centres, such as Tullamore and Edenderry, are almost universal up and down the country.

THE problems facing town centres, such as Tullamore and Edenderry, are almost universal up and down the country.

Like many other towns, they have suffered through a combination of the recession, its own circumstances, and the drift from the town centre to large mall like shopping centres on the edges of the town.

The result has seen the closure of many traditional businesses which once defined Main Street, and a general unwillingness by new businesses or franchises to locate themselves in the centre of town.

That’s not to say that new start ups aren’t happening, they are, but increasingly it is proving to be the exception, rather than the rule.

There are other factors too which are militating against the town centre, and critics of pay parking and clamping have been more than vocal on these.

Rates and water charges are also cited by retailers as factors which make it difficult to survive.

Pay parking looks set to stay, however, as Councils repeatedly defend its value as a revenue stream.

However, towns cannot be allowed to languish or die on their feet.

A new vision or plan for town centres needs to be formulated by all the interested parties.

Town centres are the hub of any community.

They cannot be allowed to die.