Tipperary Town Revitalisation Task Force Ploughing Ahead
Following persistent lobbying and demonstrations from local residents and action groups such as March4Tipp and Jobs4Tipp, the Tipperary Town Revitalisation Task Force was established to address the many issues that have impacted on the development of Tipperary Town in the recent past. It was established by the then Minister of State Damien English at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in September 2019 and is governed by a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG).
Minister English appointed Carmel Fox, former CEO of Ballyhoura Development CLG as independent Chair, and pledged to support the appointment of a Project Coordinator and the development of a Collaborative Town Centre Health Check through the Heritage Council. The Task Force receives support from the Department and Tipperary County Council to undertake its work.
The Task Force has 18 members representing different sectors, agencies, NGOs, businesses, and community organisations. A central element of its work is the development and implementation of a three-year Action Plan to revitalise the town. A Task Force office was opened on Bridge Street, Tipperary town, in September 2020 staffed by a Project Manager and two administration support staff.
Task Force independent Chair Carmel Fox stated, “Community consultation is always going to be the foundation of everything that the Task Force seeks to do. Unfortunately, the Covid 19 pandemic hit just as the Task Force set about its work in early 2020, meaning that the critical formative planning and research had to be carried out via surveys and online consultations. The Task Force issued a detailed online survey in the summer of 2020 and received a remarkable response, with 549 people giving their views on issues ranging from enterprise development to heritage and social inclusion. There were further, more targeted consultations held with thematic groups thereafter, all of which is feeding into the Task Force Action plan that is currently being drafted.”
The Task Force will issue a draft of its Action Plan for comment during the summer before finalising in September. Parallel to this work, Tourism, Biodiversity and Social Inclusion Plans are being finalised, and the Task Force is working with Tipperary County Council on a bid for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund 2021, while also completing the Collaborative Town Centre Health Check with Alison Harvey and her team at the Heritage Council.
Recently appointed Project Coordinator Michael Begley said, “There are already some very positive developments happening in the town with the River Ara Walkway, the new Digital Hub at Tipperary Technology Park, and the announcement of new jobs in Tipperary Town by local Enterpreneur Patrick O’Callaghan in his security business Kontex. We hope to build on this further, working with a whole range of agency and local community and voluntary partners to deliver on our Action Plan. There is a great momentum behind the process, and we truly believe that this can be a transformative opportunity for the Town.”
Chairperson Carmel Fox wishes to acknowledge the contribution of Marie Ryan, who oversaw much of the initial consultations in her role as Project Manager up to November 2020, along with all the stakeholders and everybody that has contributed to the consultations to date.