Thurles town centre is part of the councils programme for the re-opening of urban areas
There is an opportunity now for town centres to regain business by creating safe spaces for consumers and an opportunity for people and communities to re-engage while fully complying with public health guidelines.
Tipperary County Council has this week set out a framework for the reopening and revitalisation of town centres across the Premier County.
The framework, which is fully aligned with the Governments “Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business”, is designed to ensure that business and consumers return to work and do business in town centres as well as helping people to reflect on what type of town centre they would like to have, going forward.
“There is an opportunity now for town centres to regain business by creating safe spaces for consumers and an opportunity for people and communities to re-engage while fully complying with public health guidelines,” the document from Tipperary County Council CEO, Mr Joe MacGrath, states.
The Council`s District teams, which have been working very dilligently behind closed doors during the pandemic lockdown, will shortly commence engagement with members of Tipperary County Council, Town Fora and business organisations to prepare Town Action Plans which will set out a series of practical steps that will assist the reopening of town centres and the phased return to business by retail outlets envisaged by the Government's Roadmap.
The framework recognises that all of the towns are different in character, geography and retail offering and that town plans must adapt to the particular set of circumstances in each case. Issues to be considered include:
*The opportunity to create town centres as “safe spaces.”*Creating identity for town centres through branding and online promotions.
*Immediate measures to enhance town centres including painting schemes, planting etc.
*Ensuring compliance with public health guidelines – particularly the challenge of social distancing.
*The use of outdoor public spaces by businesses as part of the recovery and reopening of town centres.
*Creating additional pedestrianised spaces which allows the safe and free movement of shoppers in town centres.
Furthermore, the Government has set out a number of financial supports and measures to assist town centres including the Business Restart Grant which is currently open and accessible through Tipperary County Council`s website; the 3 month Rates Waiver Scheme (details of which are awaited); and the recently launched Town and Village Renewal Scheme which provides funding for projects that support rural towns and villages to be more attractive and sustainable.
This year’s scheme will, in particular, support projects that aid the economic and social recovery of towns and villages in response to Covid-19.
In addition to the range of national supports, there are additional local supports which are also being put in place by the County Council.
For instance, each District will be authorised to apply any unallocated/unspent 2020 General Municipal Allocations to support measures and actions agreed in the Town Action Plans.