Rates cut for new business

O'Connell Square, Mountmellick, where new businesses can now apply for a rates discount from Laois County Council.
Laois County Council have extended their Business Incentive Scheme to Mountmellick, to revive the town centre.

Laois County Council have extended their Business Incentive Scheme to Mountmellick, to revive the town centre.

Cut price rates are on offer to new businesses setting up in commercial premises that are vacant for at least six months, from Patrick Street to Sarsfield Street including O’Connell Square.

Shops, offices, medical or health clinics and creches can all apply for the scheme.

However pubs, takeaways, betting offices, headshops, arcades and jewellery/clothes for money outlets need not apply says Anne-Marie Delaney, Director of Services.

“This is to encourage use of vacant premises over the next three years, and encourage diversity of retail opportunities. It won’t apply to anyone who owes money to the council at any other location,” she said.

Also excluded are businesses moving from a similar size premises in Mountmellick.

The scheme gives 75 percent off rates in year one, 50 percent in year two and 25 percent in year three, with full rates to be paid afterwards.

Cllr Paddy Bracken welcomed the announcement at the March monthly meeting.

“I am sure other towns will benefit in due course, I thank everyone for their input,” he said, while confirming with Ms Delaney that charity clothes shops can apply.

The scheme began in Portlaoise last year with plans to extend it around Laois, continuing with Rathdowney and Mountrath next month.

“It is at the initial stage in Portlaoise, we will review the impact at the end of the year,” said Ms Delaney, reporting “not huge demand yet”.

More incentives are on the way in the coming months, to encourage pop-up shops, enhancement of public areas, new traditional shopfronts, use of vacant shop windows, floral displays, signs and Christmas lighting.

The council will review the rates incentive scheme after two years.