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27 Sept 2022

Laois Council's green light for Portlaoise Town Regeneration Officer welcomed

News Town Centre First policy also gets backing of Portlaoise and Portarlington Green Party reps

Laois Council's green light for Portlaoise Town Regeneration Officer welcomed

Fitzmaurice Place Portlaoise

Laois Green Party representatives have welcomed the launch of the national Town Centre First policy which will see the appointment of a Town Regeneration Officer .

They say the Green Party has long advocated for a ‘Town Centre First’ approach to support local communities to bring life and vibrancy into towns across the country.

The Laois Greens say a Town Centre First approach revitalises and regenerates towns 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. They say that in addition to quality housing and job opportunities, this approach also ensures that good transport links, safe and accessible public spaces, and climate resilience is at the heart of how we plan our towns.

Rosie Palmer is the party's newly appointed Portlaoise representative.

“With the launch of this policy today, the Greens in government are delivering on a key Programme for Government commitment to develop a Town Centre First policy, modelled on the scheme developed by the Scottish Government, and informed by the Town Centre Living Initiative pilot project.

“This policy sets out a number of ways in which local communities will be empowered to come up with their own plans to bring life back to their towns. What we’ll see is structures being established and supported at local level, with funding to be provided by central government.

“I’m delighted to see that a Town Regeneration Officer will be appointed to Laois Council to help train and support a ‘Town Team’, made up of local stakeholders such as residents, businesses and community groups, to develop a ‘Town Centre First plan for towns like Portlaoise and to know that our local authority staff will be on hand to support this work.

“The ‘one-stop-shop’ approach in Local Authorities will make it easy for businesses and residents to access supports for building adaptations and renovations, and much like Tidy Towns, the awards programme for Town Teams will really help to incentivise people to get on board,” she said. MORE BELOW PICTURE.

John Holland is the party's Portartlington representative.

"This approach gives the people of Portarlington an opportunity to shape the future of our town, and to influence decision making on things like heritage, our public realm, pedestrianisation, how we plan the town going forward, how we tackle issues like vacancy and dereliction. From a Green perspective, this also empowers the community to put climate action, sustainable mobility, and regeneration of our public and green spaces at the heart of our Town Centres First plan," he said.

Speaking at the Moate launch of the Town Centre First policy, Green Party 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.”

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