The Green Party has today welcomed the publication of the Town Centres Living Pilot study by the Department of Community and Rural Affairs and is urging all local agencies and stakeholders to collaborate to act on its policy recommendations.
Speaking following the launch of the report, Green Party Spokesperson for Community and Rural Development; Deputy Malcolm Noonan said that the report offered a viable working template which could be replicated in towns across the State struggling to find their feet as Covid restrictions are lifted.
“Some real innovative work has taken place in the pilot study towns where barriers to the repurposing of buildings and indeed the potential of our town centres as places of future sustainable urban development have been identified,” said Deputy Noonan.
“We would urge local authorities and local town teams to delve into the findings of this important report and in particular take on board the policy recommendations. While there are elements within the report that will require legislative change by a new government, it is ultimately up to local communities to lead the charge towards a whole re-imagining of what our unique urban centres could become as centres of innovation, of quality living and sustainable mobility.”
Deputy Noonan said that it was vital that post Covid town centre teams were convened from the community with a broad remit to consider how to better use civic spaces, how property owners could be incentivised to provide housing solutions and develop a vision for vibrant town centres. This he said should be led by local authorities using the template of the Town Centre Living Pilot and other pioneering policy approaches being adopted in Scotland.
“This is a welcome and timely report. Our town centres were in decline pre-covid but now they are in deep crisis and it is important to radically rethink what these important cultural and civic spaces are for. We are of the view that they provide the key to a sustainable future and towards climate resilience but this ambition can only be realised by a new departure in how our urban spaces are organised and in how we act to unlock their immense potential,” concluded Deputy Noonan.
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