Stop dithering on Town Centre First Policy, says RGDATA
Director general will "speak bluntly about the lack of progress with the promised Town Centre First policy"
23 November 2021 | 0
RGDATA director general Tara Buckley is one of the speakers at a webinar to be held tomorrow on Wednesday, 24 November which will look at what has been happening with the government’s promised Town Centre First policy and the progress that is being made with the Collaborative Town Centre Health Check programme.
“I will be speaking bluntly about the lack of progress with the promised Town Centre First policy,” Buckley said. “This is an extremely challenging time to be running a town centre shop and we need joined up thinking and a proper commitment to rejuvenating Town Centres from government, regulators and local authorities.”
In response to parliamentary questions earlier this year, Deputy Peter Burke, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, explained more about what the Town Centre First Policy involves.
“With a view to giving effect to [the] commitment and the actions outlined in the programme for Government, a Town Centre First interdepartmental group was established in November 2020 to consider the regeneration of towns and villages. The group is jointly chaired by the Departments of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Rural and Community Development.
“In parallel, a Town Centre First advisory group was established to enable the experiences of a broader group of stakeholders to be brought to bear in informing the process of policy development and will support the work of the interdepartmental group. Following the initial development stages through the forum of the interdepartmental group and the advisory group, four key pillars are in development as part of the Town Centre First framework via the support of dedicated working groups tasked with addressing governance and enabling structures, an economic and social purpose, a living towns approach and investment and resources.
“There is a general consensus among all the groups that there is no one solution or issue that can or should be addressed in isolation but rather that a Town Centre First framework should be holistic and capable of being tailored to address the individual needs, size and characteristics of a town,” he continued.
“The aim is that the interdepartmental group will provide recommendations for consideration by the government in June. It is envisaged that these recommendations will cover the short, medium and longer terms to 2040 to align with Project Ireland 2040.”