RGDATA welcomes focus on vibrant town centres in new Retail Planning Guidelines
“It is vital that Local Authorities’ apply the new Guidelines on Retail Planning” says RGDATA
RGDATA, the organisation representing the independent retail grocery sector in Ireland has welcomed the publication of the Retail Planning Guidelines by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. The representative group for 4,000 family owned shops, convenience stores and supermarkets welcomed the clarity offered to planners, retailers and the general public by the new Guidelines.
RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley urged local authorities to strictly apply the Guidelines to ensure that Ireland continue to have a vibrant, efficient and competitive retail sector, vibrant towns and villages and local shops that people can walk to.
In particular RGDATA welcomed the commitment demonstrated in the latest version of the Retail Planning Guidelines to sustainable retail development; the clear definitions of the different retail formats and the continued focus on town centre development and commitment to the sequential test, which supports the location of retail services in town centres and retail zones.
RGDATA Director General, Tara Buckley said “The revised Guidelines are welcome and provide clear guidance to retailers, planners and consumers on the location of retail shops. RGDATA commends the Department and Ministers Hogan and O’Sullivan for taking account of submissions made on the Guidelines and for recognising the vital importance of plan led – not developer or Multiple retailer led - retail development. The retail planning regime in Ireland has generally served consumers well. Where the Retail Planning Guidelines have been adhered to there is competition, choice, new entrants and our town centres are attractive places to shop, gather and visit.”
RGDATA welcomes the publication of these new Guidelines and note that the Department has taken account of submissions made on the draft Guidelines circulated late last year. The new Guidelines should help to ensure that Irish consumers continue to be served by a range of competing shops, with the independent retail grocery sector continuing to providing a strong competitive buffer to the large multiples.
“Locally owned shops are better for Ireland – they provide more jobs, support more Irish producers and suppliers, provide a route to market for small local producers and farmers and reinvest in their local communities. A Euro spent in a locally owned shop is worth four times more to your local community than a Euro spent in a global multiple,” Buckley pointed out.
RGDATA said that it is imperative that local authorities actively apply the Guidelines and do not allow themselves to be dazzled by the prospects of additional rates gains or development levies promised by large retailers who consistently ignore the Guidelines and seek to build outside towns and away from existing shops.
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