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Saturday 3 December 2016

Plan aims to breathe new life into neglected urban villages

Drumcondra which is one of the areas targeted
Drumcondra which is one of the areas targeted

Dublin urban villages need to be saved from decline, with incentives to boost local businesses and social activities, according to new Fianna Fail proposals.

The party's plan aims to help city villages compete with out-of-town shopping centres through a number of measures, including new village markets and festivals, free parking and reduced commercial rates.

The measures hope to revitalise villages such as Rathmines, Finglas, Ballyfermot, Raheny, and Drumcondra by making them more attractive for shopping and socialising.

The policy - which was written by Dublin City Councillors Daithi de Roiste and Paul McAuliffe - identifies boosting community spirit as a much-needed priority.

Among the key proposals are:

* The establishment of a village team for each area in Dublin to include the local tidy towns chairperson, a Garda community sergeant, local business owners and Dublin City Council planning experts;

* The establishment of a village manager in each of the nine electoral districts to coordinate the work;

* The roll-out of well-organised village markets and village festivals that complement local businesses and help increase footfall in the area;

*  Reduced commercial rates for new village-based businesses;

*  A commercial rates surcharge of 15pc on out-of-town shopping centres;

*  90 minutes' free parking.

Also, disincentives would be imposed to prevent landlords from leaving units vacant.

"Villages like my own local village of Finglas have been the heart of Dublin communities for decades," said Cllr McAuliffe, leader of Fianna Fail on the council.

"However, many have suffered hugely in recent years due to changes in shopping trends and the economic climate.

vibrant

"Sadly, too many of our once vibrant and action-packed urban village centres have lost their vibrancy, and are instead littered with closed-down shops, vacant units and a sense of decline. We need strong teams of community leaders that are working together.

"This plan is about bringing together those working and living in our communities, supporting struggling businesses, encouraging local employment, increasing footfall and making our villages attractive, fun and safe," Cllr de Roiste added.

"Our proposals centre on maximising the currently untapped potential of our villages across Dublin city, which are being seriously neglected," he said.

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