Thinking outside the box is needed to rejuvenate provincial towns and tackle the housing crisis – DEERING

16th May, 2016

Carlow Fine Gael TD, Pat Deering, is calling on the new Government, to examine with urgency what measures need to be taken to regenerate provincial and rural towns such as Carlow.

“I will be asking my colleagues, Ministers Simon Coveney, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Heather Humphreys and Michael Noonan to provide the necessary incentives and support for business growth and job creation in towns and villages throughout the country, and at the same time deal with the current challenges in the housing sector.

“In the Programme for Government the renewal of towns and villages is a top priority, and has been identified as the principal way to revitalise rural Ireland. A new and improved Town and Village Renewal Scheme will be developed, with input from the Oireachtas, in time for next October’s Budget.

“This needs to happen, there needs to be joined up thinking with a clear policy on town centre rejuvenation, including a policy on housing which encourages people to live in our town centres again. Initiatives like the ‘Living City’ initiative, which is administered by the Department of Finance, should be rolled out in towns across Ireland, in order to bring new life back into the towns themselves, while being part of an overall strategy to tackle the housing crisis.

“Schemes to address the issue could include: urban renewal projects, tax incentive schemes for renovating old buildings in town centres, incentivising retailers to refit older shops and develop vacant units lying idle above shops. This is not just an issue in Carlow town, Bagenalstown and Tullow have the same problems.

“A report published in March 2015, on Business Growth Potential in Small Towns, by the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, recommended that central Government support local authorities to introduce grant relief schemes, in order to incentivize new businesses to take up vacant properties on main streets, as well as addressing the issue of Upward Only Rent Provisions and other practical recommendations.

“Parking and the cost of parking in town centres compared to out of town shopping centres is an issue that needs to be addressed also.

“A joined-up and innovative approach to this whole issue is now required and I will working hard on this in the coming months”, Deputy Deering said.