Call for development of National Town Centre strategy

Strategy to include town centre health checks

The IPI Conference takes place in Athlone on Thursday and Friday (14 -15 April) and the theme is “Implementation and Engagement: Planning in a New Era”.

By Damian Moran


Twitter: @offaly_express

Tara Buckley, Director General RGDATA will speak on Sustainable Retail Development and Irish Towns.

In her address to the Conference, Tara Buckley, calls for the development of a National Town Centre Management Strategy that would include mandatory Town Centre Health Checks:

Highlights of the presentation include:

· Ireland needs a National Town Centre Management Strategy and Ireland’s professional planners need to be to the fore in developing the strategy and rolling it out.

· We all must learn lessons from the past if we want to arrest the decline in Irish towns and villages

· There is a need for Local Authorities to step up to the plate in driving town centre regeneration

· First step towards Town centre revival is a National Strategy on Town Centre Health Checks

· Targeted Urban regeneration tax schemes will be required to kick start investment

· The German and British multiples model of retailing – comes at a price for Irish towns

"We all know that a lot of our 'ugly planning' has been driven by people who are not professional planners. Local Authorities have a central responsibility to drive new initiatives to regenerate towns. A key step to assist them is the adoption of a National Strategy on Town Centre Management. To do this properly we must start with Town Centre Health Checks. RGDATA and the Heritage Council have devised a draft Town Centre Health Check pilot strategy to assist in the development of Town Plans. Town centre revival will not happen if we do not develop policies that encourage people to live in town centres. New urban regeneration tax schemes will be required to kick-start investment in some towns and villages. Out-of-town and edge of town retail development act as a counter-attraction to town centres and suck trade from town centre businesses. If these are the models of retailing that Irish people want to support, then they must be aware of the collective societal price in terms of desolate towns and villages” said Tara Buckley.