One of the key elements in a three year action plan to boost business in Clonmel town centre is tackling the high level of vacant buildings.
A survey on business in the town, part of a Tipperary County Council initiative on all the major towns in the county, found that commercial vacancy rate in Clonmel was at at 20% - with 80 vacant units out of 395.
The national average for commercial vacancy is 12.6%. Sligo, a similar sized town to Clonmel, has a rate of 16.4%.
A vacancy blackspot is Market Place, with the vast majority of units closed, including the anchor tenant SuperValu.
The Ormond Cenre on Gladstone Street also has high vacancy levels.
Councillors on Clonmel Borough District were briefed on the findings at a meeting in the Town Hall by County Council Economic Develoment Officer Kathleen Prendergast.
Councillors agreed that another meeting would be needed to consider the survey report in detail.
Meanwhile Council chief executive Joe McGrath hasannounced details of a Commercial Incentive Scheme for the county to boost trade.
The new scheme is designed to reduce the number of vacant units in towns across the county and to stimulate business by providing a more vibrant shopping environment.
Another key element is the provision of a three year grant to traders, corresponding to a percentage of their commercial rates.
In relation to the Clonmel report, it finds that the largest town in the county has many strengths, including a compact town centre, strong employers, good public facilities such as the swimming pool, museum, library and arts centre, attractive floral displays and a strong history and heritage.
However its weaknesses, apart from the high vacancy level, include a lack of atmosphere in the town centre, limited Sunday and evening trading, poor linkage between the town centre and out-of-town commercial centres, under using digital marketing, and a failure to maximise opportunities from tourism.
The report also states that Clonmel needs to benefit more from its existing festivals and events, and to maximise the opportunities they present.
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