Browne welcomes policy document on the future of larger towns
Wexford Fianna Fail T.D. John Browne has welcomed the publication by his party of a new policy document on the future of Irish towns.
The 'Streets Ahead' document sets out a fresh vision for town centres, restoring their place at the heart of communities.
'Towns like Wexford and Enniscorthy face continuing challenges just to survive,' said Deputy Browne.
He described the commercial rates system as outdated and said it favours out of town shopping centres.
'It has led to an exodus of shoppers away from town centres where retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete,' he said.
He believes that placing a surcharge on out of town shoppping parks would rebalance the system.
Deputy Browne also called for the introduction of a new parking charge structure to make it more attractive to shop in town centres.
Another problem is upward only rent reviews which are crippling businesses, he said.
To combat anti-social behaviour in towns, the document proposes the introduction of a nationwide purple flag initiative which has proved very successful in England.
"The closure of a number of high profile retail chains in recent months serves as a stark reminder of how perilous the situation is for even larger businesses,' said Deputy Browne.
'New businesses must be encouraged to set up in town centres and Fianna Fáil has put forward a number of proposals to make this easier,' he said.
He added that 'Streets Ahead' seeks to address the challenges through a multi-faceted approach.
'No one measure will revitalise town centres. It will only succeed through a joined-up approach that has the backing of the business community, voluntary groups, local councils and the Gardaí '.