A new ‘Town Centre First’ policy, will revitalise towns and benefit local communities, a Senator has said. Senator Seery Kearney said: “Fine Gael is working to create stronger safer communities and this new ‘Town Centre First’ policy is crucial to that. It is designed to support the regeneration of our towns and villages with targeted funding to support above-shop and town centre living. “This ambitious and far-reaching policy contains a range of measures and funding supports aimed at making towns in Dublin more viable and attractive places in which to live, work and visit, whilst ensuring they are social, cultural and services hubs for the local community.
“The ‘Town Centres First’ policy contains a major new strategy to tackle vacancy, combat dereliction and breathe new life into town centres. This has been a key priority for Fine Gael and something on which we have been working hard. A recent policy paper by my colleagues Deputy Emer Higgins and Senator John Cummins put forward 26 proposals for consideration, which could enhance by over 10,000 the number of vacant homes becoming available for early use. “This major new policy is going to be a game changer for Dublin with local communities and local businesses central to reimagining and planning their own futures through a tailored plan. Our towns will benefit from Government funding, which will emphasise the importance of town centres as the central hub of our communities.
“It is really important that this ambitious programme be backed up by significant Government funding. “It 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. Last year, over €410 million was distributed nationwide under the URDF and I understand a new call will be opened shortly, focused specifically on support for our town centres in places like Dublin.
“For the first time, towns will also gain their own dedicated Town Regeneration Officers, who will be crucial to driving future development. They will be full-time dedicated positions within Dublin City Council & South Dublin County Council name working with Town Teams and local business groups to design and implement town plans. They will also work to identify derelict buildings and assist in bringing them back into use, a key objective of the Town Centre First policy,” Senator Seery Kearney said.