Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today announced €100,000 in funding to support the development of a unique Town Centre Master Plan for Clara. This is part of a €2.6 million National Fund to deliver the first ever Town Centre First Plans, which will be key to tackling dereliction and revitalising town centres.
As part of the initiative, Offaly County Council will now work closely with local community and business groups as well as public private stakeholders in Clara in devising and delivering on the objectives of their masterplan.
CE of Offaly County Council, Anna-Marie Delaney, welcomed the funding announcement today and said “This funding will support Offaly County Council, working with a new collaborative Town Team for Clara, to develop a be-spoke Town Centre First plan to guide the development of the town”. She added that “Clara’s Plan will set out specific actions and interventions that will help unlock national funding streams such as the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and the Town & Village Renewal Scheme to resource delivery of these interventions.”
Speaking after the announcement today, Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, Cllr Declan Harvey said “This is about delivering for Clara and ensuring that Clara has the right plan in place to tackle the issues of dereliction, vacant properties, and above all, to become a better place to live, work and run a business”.
It is envisaged that the Plans will cover the importance of “place-making”, town centre living, the social and economic purpose of the town, and respond to emerging opportunities such as those linked to remote working, climate action and digitalisation.
The Plans will also be central to addressing vacancy and dereliction in these locations.
Towns for this first phase were selected based on submissions received from the Local Authorities.
This initiative is a key part of Our Rural Future – the Government’s ambitious five-year strategy designed to reimagine and revitalise Rural Ireland.