Decision Details

Presentation on Town Centre First Policy

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Ms. Majella Hunt, Director of Services made a presentation to the Elected Members on the “Town Centre First Policy”, a Government Policy launched on 4th February by Minister Heather Humphreys.


·         The policy aims to create town centres that function as viable, vibrant and attractive locations for people to live, work and visit, while also functioning at the service, social, cultural and recreational hub for the local community.

·         It builds on existing best practice in a co-ordinated way to gain maximum investment from our towns (generally with pop >400)

·         There is cross government priority with strong partnership with local government that is locally led with significant investment.

·         Policy is to avail of opportunities from climate change and adaptation; digital transformation and remote working; demographic change and housing choice; experience-led retail; regeneration of public spaces; realising cultural assets and empowered, inclusive and engaged communities.

·         The focus and process is a tailored approach as every town is unique – a bottom up, plan led, place based process underpinned by investment, structures and support.

·         The implementation structures include a national oversight and advisory group

and National TCF office. The Local Authority will employ a Town Regeneration Officer and the town teams will be part of the structures with A total of 33 identified actions will be assigned to the stakeholders.

·         The Plan for each town will follow a consistent methodology with future funding, inclusion of the economic and social dimension, underpinned by a heath check and align with the NPF and statutory spatial plans.

·         Building better data will be a keystone to the success of the projects with research, agreed measurement requirements and impact assessments undertaken.

·         A toolkit will be developed to support the implementation of th policy

·         The Town Regeneration Officer will have a key role in community engagement including with town teams and linking to the expertise of the Local Authority.

·         The town teams will be the local experts and will consist of diverse groups. Capacity building with training and mentoring will be facilitated

·         Phase 1 includes the allocation of €100,000 for a town in each county and Strokestown is the town assigned in county Roscommon. The outcomes of Phase 1 will inform future TCT plans.

·         Finally, in this year’s call for URDF/RRDF funding, the emphasis has changed


The Members welcomed this new initiative and the funding for Strokestown. The initial funding is to design the Plan for the town and local knowledge is so important for the success of the projects:


·         Welcome a dedicated Town Generation Officer.

·         All backlands need to be assessed first to develop possibilities to open up the spaces – both domestic and commercial premises

·         Availability of jobs in the area are crucial to bringing people to live in towns.

·         Footfall is decreasing in small towns due to changes in retail – need ways to open up these towns to make more attractive

·         Thanks for the work done on Roscommon Town Carpark recently

·         People are moving back from large urban centres to rural towns

·         Initiatives on dereliction need to be progressed as soon as possible and change of use from commercial to residential to be planning exempted.

·         A scheme similar to S23 should be initiated by the Government – it will necessitate very little cost.

·         Do not agree with the town teams having a big input into this initiative as they are not always representative of the town as is the case in Ballaghaderreen– local politicians should be consulted first.

·         There is a need to identify black spots in towns – all towns need support

·         Unfinished estates need to be addressed

·         Councillors have to be involved in all plans and more resources made available to town teams.

·         Lights over shops and people living in the town centre would be very welcome

·         This has to be a combined effort of all stakeholders. A lot of money has been invested in towns around the county in the past number of years.

·         Irish Water have to facilitate more development of new houses in towns with water and sewerage services.

·         Do not agree with S23 properties – mostly investor led and has to be people looking  to buy.

·         Most of the town teams are working well and representative of the towns and there is no exclusivity in relation to structure and they are democratic


In response to the comments, Ms. Hunt said that the Town Teams were set up by Roscommon County Council at the request of the Members. People should be encouraged to become involved and it should be noted that the new policy will dictate that more people will be needed to become active in the committee and participate in the process. In parallel with this process, the Government is assessing dereliction and vacancies and what additional measures can be taken and we await these deliberations.


Mr. Shane Tiernan, Director of Services added that Active Travel measures will complement the Town Centre First Policy and we have already received substantial funding in this area but the Council is only a facilitator.  While there is exempted development for bringing buildings back to useful accommodation but all requirements will have to be checked in advance with the Planning Department.




Publication date: 29/03/2022

Date of decision: 28/02/2022

Decided at meeting: 28/02/2022 - Monthly Meeting


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