RGDATA welcomes government’s Town Centre First Policy
8 February 2022 | 0
RGDATA has welcomed the new Town Centre First Policy announced by the Government on Friday 4 February, expressing its hope that the measure will prove effective in halting the decline occurring in many Irish towns and villages.
“RGDATA fought hard for a Town Centre First Policy and has been an active advocate for government to take this issue seriously,” the association said in a press statement.
“Experience in Ireland and internationally has shown that the key to successful town centre regeneration programmes is for a genuinely collaborate approach to be adopted, involving town centre traders, local authorities, community groups, expert advisors and all local stakeholders,” said RGDATA director general, Tara Buckley.
“If this new Town Centre First Policy is to be successful and achieve its objectives, it will be of vital importance that it is genuinely collaborative and actively involves all town centre interests,” Buckley added. “It is also important that all existing expertise gained from the initial Collaborative Town Centre Health Checks and international experience is applied. There also needs to be strong oversight to ensure that 33 Actions are delivered.”
RGDATA said that the new policy provides an opportunity for local authorities to adopt a new approach to the management and regeneration of town centres.
In the past, in many instances the interventions or neglect of local authorities have directly contributed to vacancy, dereliction and decay in our towns, the association believes, stating that the new policy represents an opportunity for local authorities to make amends. They can demonstrate, through collaboration with town centre interests, in particular local businesses, that a bright future can be secured for Irish towns and villages.
“On behalf of the many stakeholders who are actively engaged in seeking a brighter future for our town centres, I welcome this government initiative,” Buckley added. “I hope that it will lead to an ambitious and collaborative approach to drive the policy forward and provide the vital back up and expert support for Town Centre Teams.”