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Town Centre First policy will ‘empower communities to create towns and villages we want to live in’

The launch of today’s (4th February) Town Centre First policy marks a significant step towards bringing back life and vibrancy to communities and towns across the country. The Green Party has long advocated for a Town Centre First approach to rural regeneration and sustainable development.

Speaking at the launch Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD stated;

“I’m delighted to launch the Town Centre First policy today with Minister Humphreys and Minister Burke. This is an important step towards empowering our communities to create towns and villages we want to live in and be proud of. Architecturally, culturally and socially, the Irish town is unique in European terms. For far too long, we have turned our backs on this important heritage.

“The Government’s Town Centre First policy seeks to support, enable and inspire communities to be active participants in the heritage-led regeneration of their towns and villages. This in turn will reinvigorate independent retail and promote town centre living, supporting local economic resilience through the co-creation of liveable, vibrant, nature-friendly urban spaces. It will also help put communities at the centre of the planning and decision-making process through citizen-led ‘Town Teams’. They will be supported by a dedicated Town Regeneration Officer and the local authorities and backed with government funding.”

A Town Centre First approach focuses on revitalising and regenerating town centres 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.

Steven Matthews TD, Green Party Spokesperson on Planning and Local Government and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage added;

“I’m delighted to see that the policy launched today means that businesses and residents will be able to access funding and supports for building adaptations and renovations through a ‘one-stop-shop’ in each local authority. Town Centre First is a key objective of the Green Party. We have advocated for a Town Centre First approach for many years and ensured that it was included in the Programme for Government.”

Senator Róisín Garvey, Green Party Spokesperson for Rural Development, Enterprise, Trade and Employment said;

“The Green Party believes in building sustainable communities. A Town Centre First policy can ensure that quality housing, jobs, work hubs, good transport links, water infrastructure, safe and accessible public spaces and climate resilience will be at the heart of how we plan our towns and villages. If we get this right, it will mean our children and grandchildren will have the opportunity to live where they want – in a village, town or city – they’ll have choices. Vibrant liveable villages and towns brings security, it brings safety, it brings camaraderie, and it brings that social glue that we all crave as humans.”



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