A RANGE of supports for local communities to bring new life to towns across the country has been welcomed by Limerick Green Party TD Brian Leddin who says that it will provide opportunities for people in County Limerick to shape the future of their towns.
Deputy Leddin said that the Government’s ‘Town Centre First’ strategy launched on Friday sets out a number of ways in which local communities will be empowered to come up with their own plans to bring life back to their towns.
“What we’ll see is structures being established and supported at local level, with funding to be provided by central government,” he explained.
The policy is underpinned by multi-billion euro investment spread across major Government schemes such as the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF), the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), Crói Conaithe (Towns) Fund and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
For the first time, designated towns will gain their own dedicated Town Regeneration Officers, who will be crucial to driving future development.
A Town Regeneration Officer will be appointed to Limerick City and County Council to help train and support a Town Team, made up of local stakeholders such as residents, businesses and community groups, to develop a Town Centre First plan.
“The strategy aims to revitalise towns by bringing vacant and derelict buildings back into use and creating new opportunities for unused lands that will encourage more people to live and work within our rural towns and villages,” Deputy Leddin added.
“In addition to quality housing and job opportunities, this approach also ensures that good transport links, safe and accessible public spaces, and climate resilience is at the heart of how we plan our towns.
“Abbeyfeale, with a population of 2,023, was one of the towns selected for funding under the first phase of the Town Centre First Plan Initiative last year.
This initiative will also give an opportunity to other towns in Limerick to shape the future of their town, and to influence decision making on things like heritage, public realm, how the issues like vacancy and dereliction are tackled.
“From a Green perspective, this also empowers the community to put climate action, sustainable mobility, and regeneration of our public and green spaces at the heart of our Town Centres First plan.”
“Strong, viable towns are places where everyone has a shared stake in a common future, where life is less segregated and much the richer because of it. They are places that people want to live in and not live 15 minutes away by car.
“I believe our towns can be the engines of our rural economy, and the centres of a rural society that is strong, integrated and resilient,” Deputy Leddin concluded.