GALLERY: Callan closures caused by “doughnut effect”

Part two of a special report on the Kilkenny town...

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

A local councillor says excessive out of town and edge of town planning is “creating a doughnut effect in our town centres” after the recent spate of business closures in Callan.

Last week, the Kilkenny People reported on vacant premises and business closures in Callan which locals say have left the town “dying on its feet”.

From Lower Bridge street, all the way up to Green Street, stores have closed with vacant sites and empty shop fronts littering the town.

Cllr Malcolm Noonan says it is now “timely that Government policy aligned itself towards a cohesive and collaborative plan of action for the animation of town centres”.

He said that in Kilkenny there are the resources of the Heritage Council and that they have over many years developed the most comprehensive set of community and heritage led plans for the regeneration of our town centres.

Cllr Noonan said: “Behind every one of these closures are families, workers and communities left bereft of employment and services.

“We must be mindful of this in our actions as policymakers both locally and nationally.

“The decisions we make can have profound impacts on local economies.”

He said: “We have done irreparable damage to our town centres through inappropriate and excessive out of town and edge of town planning, creating a doughnut effect in our town centres. This draws the lifeblood out of our towns.”

Cllr Noonan added: “Interestingly, Callan has been at the forefront of a changing narrative and a base for some interesting and challenging work led by Callan Workhouse Union and showcased at the annual Abhainn Rí Festival.

"I would love to see ‘Town Teams’ being established like they have done in Roscommon and supported by the Heritage Council.”

Cllr Noonan says the Council would have a direct role in supporting the establishment of a ‘Town Team’ but that once it is established, it should be autonomous and free to drive an ambitious agenda.

He said: “Callan has all the ingredients to develop a model for a sustainable local economy; it is a beautiful heritage town, has a strong community sector, local indigenous industry, strong farming sector and is diverse and inclusive.”