Local TD Denis Naughten has welcomed the publication of the Government’s Town Centre First strategy, which will build on work already taking place to bring families and businesses back into towns across County Roscommon and East Galway.
“There is no doubt there must be a focus on bringing families back into vacant houses, particularly when we have 45,000 vacant homes across the five Connacht counties, along with Cavan, Monaghan, and Donegal.
“Over the last number of years, while the experts and public commentary have focused only on new housing builds, I have continually highlighted the fact that we have many existing vacant family homes, close to schools and services including 1,000mbps broadband outside the door,” stated Denis Naughten.
The Government plan is aimed at regenerating areas and breathing new life into our towns, stimulating both residential and commercial development by producing a specific local plan for our towns that focuses on local strengths and identifies challenges.
One of the key elements of the strategy is the appointment of Town Regeneration Officers and technical expertise within each County Council to develop plans with the local community and then deliver on the local town plan through substantial funding made available from the Government via funds such as the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund and the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund
“This has already happened in County Roscommon where the Council established town teams a decade ago that are now helping local towns to secure major government funding and it is expected that additional funding will now be secured to drive further investment locally,” added Denis Naughten.
“While a similar approach, was slower to get started in County Galway, this is now taking place in our towns across East Galway with Ballinasloe leading the charge through its development of a community-led plan for the next decade. The Government’s commitment to staffing and support through Galway County Council will be a significant boost to local towns currently developing their own local town plan.
“Much of the investment that will flow from these local town plans is a direct result of decisions I made in Government to establish funding streams through the Urban & Rural Regeneration Funds to get vital local projects off the ground.
“These funding programmes allow local communities and the County Council to design projects that will drive forward economic development, rather than Government Departments designing a ‘one size fits all’ approach which has failed so many towns previously.
“This new approach is now beginning to help towns and villages across our area to reinvent themselves with the long-term objective of making them better places in which to live and to invest.
“But none of this would be possible without the work and commitment of the local town team and the support provided by the County Council. This announcement of additional supports from the Government for County Councils will help to speed this process up,” concluded Denis Naughten.