Naas Town Council are now offering free parking on Saturdays which will commence from 5th October. I welcome this move. As many of you are already aware, it is as initiative I have called for on numerous occasions.
As far back as 2009 I proposed the need for a plan to revitalise Naas town centre. In the 4 years since, we’ve seen a spate of shop and business closures with no real plan of action from the authorities. Naas town has been sailing aimlessly through turbulent waters.
This downward spiral that Naas has found itself in isn’t solely related to the recession either – Newbridge and Kildare have maintained vibrant retail environments in their towns despite the tough economic climate. This hasn’t been helped by Naas Town Council’s intransigence over the years and failure to accept there was a problem in the town (see this bulletin from September 2012 after the matter was raised at a council meeting).
This is an important first step on the road to revitalizing the heart of Naas town. This should now be followed up with a more comprehensive plan that looks at a complete suite of ideas to promote jobs and bring businesses back to the town centre.
Initiatives that should be explored include:
- encouraging town centre development ahead of out-of-town big box developments;
- revisiting the rigid rates regime and to make it fairer for smaller businesses; and
- a requirement for developers to produce Economic Impact Assessments with all new developments.
- Cultural, social and leisure initatives to complement retail activity and drive footfall to the town centre.