Vacant buildings such as this have been a feature of Borris-in-Ossory and other towns and villages in Laois and other parts of Ireland
Borris-in-Ossory is in line to benefit from a scheme aimed at getting business back into the village centre which has jobs potential and could also help tackle dereliction.
Laois County Council has given the green light to extending the Business Incentive Scheme to encourage the use of vacant commercial premises on the Main Street of the village.
Denise Rainey is Business Development Officer at the Business Support Unit (BSU) in County Hall.
She outlined what is involved at the Borris-in-Ossory Mountmellick Municipal District meeting.
“A person who is opening a new business is entitled to a three year grant. This is effectively a three year reduction in rates,” she said.
Ms Rainey said a business that occupies a premises for at least six months is entitled to apply to the council for support. If approved, a 75% reduction will be given in the first year, 50% in year two and 25% in the final year.
She said it is a good grant for new companies.
“When you set up a business there are a lot of start up costs especially in the first year,” she said.
Ms Raine added that towns and villages benefit.
“It encourages new business and encourages people to take over premises that have been vacant for a long time,” she said.
She said the scheme is already in operation in Portlaoise, Mountmellick, Mountrath, Abbeyleix, Durrow, Rathdowney and Portarlington.
“It has had huge success where it has been introduced..It encourages back to the retail core,” she said.
Ms Rainey explained that while most types of business could avail of the help, some will not such as betting offices, nightclubs, takeaways pubs.
However she said each application would be looked at on a case by case basis.
“The guarantee I will give is that each application will be judged on its own merits. Where we can be lenient we will be” she said.
Councillors welcomed the scheme’s extension and praised the staff involved.
Cllr Conor Bergin, Fine Gael, welcomed the He added that the scheme would help business come into Borris-in-Ossory.
“This is great news for Borris-in-Ossory,” he said.
“Like a lot of villages in Laois Borris suffered badly during the last recession and was hit with a double whammy of bypass. It had a bad effect on business,” he said.
However, the Fine Gael councillor said recovery is underway.
“Thankfully, the village has started to bounce back over the past couple of years,” he said.
Cllr Bergin, who is a native of the village, said there are new shops, transformed derelict housing estates and a busy school.
“The village is really thriving,” he said.
He said there is also a huge demand for property and as more people chose to live there more services will be needed.
He said work is already underway to renovate vacant buildings on the Main St. He said these buildings have come back into local ownership.
Cllr Ollie Clooney, Independent, also welcomed the development.
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