National Planning Award for FAC!
Future Analytics Consulting is delighted to have secured the ‘Highly Commended’ award for the Planning and Economic Development award for 2020 Irish Planning Institute Awards. The award was for our report “Rejuvenating Ireland’s Small-Town Centres” produced for the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland. We would like to thank SCSI for commissioning this important report which was well-received around the country. It is a framed as a call to action to the public, private and community sectors.
Rural Ireland has so much opportunity to consolidate and develop strong and sustainable employment if practical planning policies are implemented and supported – driven by local government and community priorities.
Concern over the vibrancy and future of our regional high streets has been part of social discourse for the last few decades. As more streets and towns began to suffer a slow decline, policies and funding schemes have been formulated to counter this. However, it is perhaps only in the last decade, with the onset of the economic crash and the extent of damage it caused, that there has been a clear and determined effort on the part of successive governments to address the fundamental issues that are leading to this decline.
Regional high streets have been significantly affected by the recent economic downturn.
The impact of this decline has been felt throughout Ireland with increasing vacancy rates and decline in the vibrancy of many rural communities. Conversely, there are many positive developments, acting as a demonstration projects for other towns. Finding a way to effectively share this knowledge can be a challenge. Changes in consumer behaviour, specifically a move towards ‘experiential’ shopping, a vacuum in local government and increased costs for businesses have helped create ‘the perfect storm’ for regional businesses.
Drawing on national and international research, as well as consultation with national influencers, this policy statement is aimed at central and local government, the private sector based in rural Irish towns and villages – those local communities who are affected by the decline of the regional high street.
The purpose of this report is to:
- provide an overview of the trends,
- consider a range of barriers,
- identify critical success factors at play, and
- provide pragmatic policy interventions.
It is intended for use by local communities and local authorities who are considering or are in the process of interventions to revive and rejuvenate their high streets.
Full report is available here.
Future Analytics Consulting submitted this project under the Planning and Economic Development category as we believe this call to action provides a toolkit to help make better places to live in, to visit and to work, stimulating tourism and economic development.
The project is demonstrative of the cross-cutting nature of planners work and of the regeneration issue, touching economics and leisure, transport and traffic management, as well as promoting economic and social cohesion and enhancing cultural identity.
The innovative measures that have been proposed aim to reinforce sense of place and to improve the quality of life of those living in Ireland’s small towns.
FAC is a leading Chartered Town Planning, Development and Socio-economic Analytics Consultancy based in Dublin with an extensive project portfolio throughout Ireland. FAC has extensive experience in town and village renewal, town and village health checks, and settlement profiling.