On 9 December last I announced €2.6 million in funding to deliver Town Centre First Plans in 26 towns across the country. The development of these 26 Plans will feed into the Government’s overall Town Centre First Policy, which I expect will be launched in the coming weeks.
The funding will support each local authority, working with a collaborative Town Team, to develop a be-spoke Town Centre First plan to guide the development of each town. As part of the initiative, each local authority will be provided with €100,000 to support the development of a unique vision for the town which will also outline specific interventions required to deliver on this vision.
The Town Centre First Plans should be guided by a strong empirical base and be developed collaboratively with local Town Teams involving community and business, as well as public and private stakeholders. It is envisaged that the Plans will cover the importance of “place-making”, town centre living, and the social and economic purpose of the town. They should respond to emerging opportunities such as those linked to remote working, climate action and digitalisation. The Plans will also be central to addressing vacancy and dereliction in these locations.
In addition to developing the plan, the funding can be used to cover any underlying analysis that must be undertaken to inform the development of the plan, capacity building required locally for the Town Team, or the initial delivery of some small interventions in the town, where the budget allows.
The towns were selected based on submissions from the local authorities. Local authorities were requested to identify not more than three towns with a population of up to 10,000 people that are located outside of the 5 city metropolitan areas. One town was then selected by my Department in each county based mainly on the priority indicated by each local authority.