'Critically important' support package plan for county retailers

'Critically important' support package plan for county retailers
Councillors say county town like Midleton need ot be protected and supported. Picture Denis Minihane.

A SUPPORT package to protect retail in towns and villages across the county could be rolled out in the near future by County Hall.

The decision to send a potential support package for the county’s towns and villages to the Corporate Policy Group (CPG) for discussion was fast-tracked by Cork County Council after councillors voted to amend the County Development Plan to allow for a retail outlet park to be built in Carrigtwohill.

An impression of what the €100m Cork Outlet Village might look like, which is in the pipeline for Carrigtwohill.
An impression of what the €100m Cork Outlet Village might look like, which is in the pipeline for Carrigtwohill.

The support package was an issue of contention between the chief executive Tim Lucey and Fianna Fáil councillors who debated that there was not enough information supplied to them to make a decision on the County Development Plan amendment.

Speaking following the meeting, which saw a vote pass the motion 42 to four with one abstention (County Mayor Christopher O’Sullivan), Carrigaline councillor Seamus McGrath said that it was critically important that towns and villages are safeguarded.

“The issue of the retail outlet centre is a significant decision for Cork County Council to make, while it does bring investment and employment we do have to bear in mind the potential impact on towns and villages.

“It is something we need to do anyway, it reinforces the view for us, that we have to put in place a strong and well-resourced plan that offers practical support to businesses.”

While the support plan for towns and villages was on the cards for some time, this is the first time the council has seen a definite timeline or roadmap in relation to the package.

“It is critically important we have active, vibrant town and village centres, this needs to happen, regardless of the retail outlet, but it does reinforce the need for this to happen,” Mr McGrath said.

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