A ‘High Streets Taskforce’ is to visit Limavady later this month in a bid to halt town centre decline, Minister Nelson McCausland has announced.
The Roe Valley town is one of 21 chosen to be visited. The Social Development Department’s taskforce comes after retail guru Mary Portas made a series of recommendations to boost beleagured high streets.
Limavady Council Planning Committee chairperson, Dermot Nicholl welcomed the news.
“As chairperson of the local Planning Committee I am pleased the Social Development Minister has included Limavady town in the taskforce project to meet with retail traders and business people across the North to hear their views on how to improve the performance of our local high streets, town and city centres. Mayor Sean McGlinchey and I will be delighted to host his visit to our Borough.
“This initiative was inspired by Mary Portas’s report on how to halt the decline of high streets in Britain. Here in Ireland we have the same problem. The taskforce will review the support which the Department is responsible for regenerating town centres to see whether this might be further strengthened in light of the recommended actions identified by Mary Portas.”
Mr McCausland said: “I have asked the taskforce to meet with retail traders and business people across Northern Ireland to hear their views on how to improve the performance of our local high streets, town and city centres before it reports to me next month.
“The taskforce will review the support which my Department already provides to regenerate town centres to see whether this might be further strengthened in light of the recommended actions identified by Mary Portas, and also reflect Northern Ireland’s trading circumstances.”
The Minister also said that he and the taskforce have met with stakeholder business representative groups to hear their views. The taskforce is now working with the Association of Town Centre Management, Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association and district councils in arranging the ‘High Street Meetings’ during May 2012.
The Limavady meeting is scheduled for May 29 at the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre at 12.30.