Have your say on Thurles Renewal Strategy

Catherine Fogarty

Reporter:

Catherine Fogarty

Email:

news@tipperarylive.ie

Have your say on Thurles Renewal Strategy

The work on this strategy has progressed and Tipperary County Council have extended the closing date for your feedback. So please give your input by November 2, 2020. The Council are providing the option to provide your feedback online via a survey form available on the council website or on Thurles.ie Facebook page. A paper survey form was also available.

The council website provides the report (71pages) and shorter poster format summaries are available to view in the windows of the library at the Source and in the Council office in Castle Avenue, Thurles.

So please do take the time to give your input to the process. We gathered in Hayes Hotel on March 4 to hear about the project and the feedback to the initial online survey used to gather the views of people that live in or visit Thurles.

The project was led by a team of outside Consultants with LUC, from the UK, the lead consultant. That seems like a lifetime ago and much has changed since then and will be forever changed.

The Draft Renewal Strategy sets out 5 key objectives that will be the shared vision for Thurles, namely The Creation of a Compact Low-Carbon Climate Resilient Town, The Creation of a Vibrant and Living Town Centre, The Delivery of a Connected Town & Enhanced Public Realm, The Creation of a Destination Town, The Exposure and Showcasing of Thurles Historic & Natural Heritage.

Are these the priority objectives for Thurles, or has the strategy ignored the difficult issues and selected a more deliverable range of projects? Each objective has been further examined to produce a range of projects that would on completion contribute to the achievement of the overall objective. The projects are listed and you are asked to indicate if you are interested in being involved in delivery of these projects.

The draft report states “The following is a list of Town Centre Renewal Actions to be considered and further developed at draft stage and as part of the second phase of public and stakeholder consultation strategy. These actions may be championed by the Council, Stakeholders and Town Centre Groups and will be supported through on-going collaboration. Additional actions and feedback on the suggested ideas is very much welcomed through the public consultation phases.”

This is the present stage of the project.

For me the Draft Strategy has two glaring flaws – it focuses on the town centre and not the entire town. I think an inclusive approach would give optimum results. We have assets around the town and approach roads – all should be consciously involved in our renewal.

If planning regulations moves certain activities out of town centre that doesn’t mean that they don’t impact the town centre. Visitors to Thurles to buy a car, buy a saddle, buying white goods or construction equipment, playing golf, visiting gardening centres, buying a stove or going to the Mart could also spend some of their money/ time in the town centre.

Secondly the project as tendered and introduced on March 4 was to produce a Masterplan for the Development of the area between Parnell Street, Castle Avenue, Friar Street and Croke Street. Without splitting boundary hairs we can see that urgent regeneration is required in respect of Westgate and Wolfe Tone Place while Old Baker Street has huge potential. This Masterplan seems to have been pushed off to some future date. Similarly a traffic consultant was one of the sub-contractors but there is very little in respect of tackling our town traffic issues – either the volume or the flow. This is most disappointing.

There is much in the Draft Strategy to welcome as there are some very interesting proposals. I think a wider more inclusive respect for all stakeholders would be beneficial.

The Chamber of Commerce and the Thurles Town Forum only begin to scratch the surface of the talent and capacity in Thurles.

Please do take the time to visit https://www.tipperarycoco.ie/news/draft-thurles-
renewal-strategy to view the details. You can complete the survey to help shape the strategy and/ or express your interest in being involved with one of the projects.