Tipperary County Council
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Co. Tipperary
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Tipperary County Council Civic Offices, Clonmel | Civic Offices, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary
Tipperary County Council Civic Offices, Clonmel | Civic Offices, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

Town Centres: Framework for Post Covid-19 Recovering, Reopening and Revitalising

Tipperary County Council has set out a Framework for the reopening and revitalisation of town centres across the county.

The Framework, which is fully aligned with the Governments “Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business”, is designed to ensure that business and consumers return to our town centres as well as helping people to think about what type of town centre they want in the future. There is an opportunity now for town centres to regain tbusiness by creating safe spaces for consumers and an opportunity for people and communities to re-engage while fully complying with public health guidelines.

The Council`s District Teams will shortly commence engagement with Members of Tipperary County Council, Town Fora and business organisations in towns to prepare Town Action Plans which will set out a series of practical steps that will assist the reopening of town centres and the phased return to business by retail outlets envisaged by the Governments Roadmap.

The Framework recognises that our towns are different in character, geography and retail offering and that Town Plans must adapt to the particular set of circumstances in each town. Issues to be considered include:

  • The opportunity to create town centres as “safe spaces”
  • Creating identity for our town centres through branding and online promotions.
  • Immediate measures to enhance town centres including painting schemes, planting etc.
  • Ensuring compliance with public health guidelines in our town centres – particularly the challenge of social distancing.
  • The use of Outdoor Public Spaces by businesses as part of the Recovery and Reopening of our Town Centres.
  • Creating additional pedestrianised spaces which allows the safe and free movement of shoppers in our town centres.

Government has set out a number of financial supports and measures to assist our town centres including the Business Restart Grant which is currently open and accessible through Tipperary County Council`s website , the 3 month Rates Waiver Scheme (details of which are awaited) and the recently launched Town and Village Renewal Scheme which provides funding for projects that support our rural towns and villages to be more attractive and sustainable. This year’s scheme will, in particular, support projects that aid the economic and social recovery of towns and villages in response to COVID-19.

In addition to the range of national supports, the following additional local supports are being put in place by Tipperary County Council:

  • Each District will be authorised to apply any unallocated/unspent 2020 General Municipal Allocations to support measures and actions agreed in the Town Action Plans. This will be supplemented by a further countywide allocation of €200,000
  • The Council`s Early Payment Incentives Scheme will provide an extended timeframe this year for the application of percentage reductions for early payment of commercial rates.
  • The Commercial Incentives Scheme will be reviewed and amended to take account of the current reality of vacant premises in town centres with the objective of accelerating incentivisation for the return to use of qualified vacant premises.
  • Fees paid by local business for applications made under Section 254 of the Planning Acts (permission to use public space for tables and chairs etc) will be refunded in full by way of grant following confirmation of compliance with the terms of the licence.

In addition, Tipperary County Council working with the Tipperary Tourism Board is putting in place a Recovery and Marketing Plan which will seek to boost visitor numbers to the county. This sector, in particular, has been adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and actions now are focused on driving tourism numbers from late summer through the late shoulder season based on compliance with the timescales set out in the Government Roadmap.

The Framework reiterates the Council`s commitment to a programme of significant medium and longer-term investment in town centre renewal projects. To date, Tipperary County Council has successfully secured over €27 million in grant allocations from Project Ireland 2040 which includes a direct contribution of €5.5 million from the Council for these projects.

Tuesday, 2 June, 2020 - 15:15
General News