Dundalk one of nine towns participating in pilot scheme to keep shoppers local

Dundalk one of nine towns participating in pilot scheme to keep shoppers local

Dundalk is one of nine towns participating in a new pilot scheme to keep shoppers local.

The annual conference of the Irish Planning Institute (IPI) in Mayo will hear today how the pilot scheme is helping keeping towns like Dundalk vibrant places for people to live, socialise and shop.

According to The Irish Times, a system of health checks are promoted by the grocers’ lobby group, the Retail Grocery Dairy & Allied Trades Association (RGDATA) to counter out-of-town shopping.

Nine towns recently took part in a pilot version of the check, run with the aid of the Planning Institute, the Heritage Council and statutory authorities.

As well as Dundalk, towns participating include Ennis, Co Clare; Tullamore, Co Offaly; Monaghan town; Naas, CoKildare; Ballina, Co Mayo; Cashel, Co Tipperary; Rush, Co Dublin and Tralee, Co Kerry.

A similar scheme is run by Retail Excellence Ireland, which has about 3,500 members, including out-of town supermarket owners.

Tara Buckley of RGDATA said “ribbon development” on the ourskirts of towns should be jettisoned in favour of redevelopment in town centres, but she said this was often not the case.

She called for a full-time “health check” office to be set up in the Department of Planning.

Retail and housing strategies that favour town centres ahead of ribbon development are already part of planning guidelines, but these are not always reflected in local area plans, Ms Buckley said.

Minister for Urban Renewal Damien English is expected to announce new urban renewal incentives later this month.

The Department of Housing and Planning is also finalising new incentives for people to refurbish vacant buildings in towns centres.

Read more in The Irish Times here.

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