An incentive scheme to encourage new businesses to set up in vacant shop units in Cashel’s Main Street was announced at the monthly meeting of the local Town Council.
The scheme, which was welcomed by Mayor Maribel Wood and the Council members, would offer a grant equivalent of 75% of the commercial rate for the first year; 50% for the second year and 25% for the third year, stated Town Clerk, Marie McGivern.
With the retail area particularly badly hit by the recession, she said the aims of the scheme were to reduce the number of ground floor vacant properties in Cashel’s primary retail area, the main street; to improve the town’s commercial diversity; to encourage the provision of commercial ventures in the heart of the town; to assist in job creation and ongoing employment; and to increase the rates collection for the Town Council, money that otherwise wouldn’t be collected, in order to maintain local services.
The Town Clerk said that to qualify for the scheme the unit must have been vacant and offered on the open market for sale or lease for a minimum period of six months immediately prior to the occupation by the applicant, and the unit must be rated or rateable.
There were other conditions that would prevent somebody from closing a business in one area and moving to Main Street under this scheme; and any new business couldn’t replace an existing business in the primary retail area.
Any applicants must have all charges paid to the local authority, even if it related to another part of the county, said Ms McGivern.
The qualifying businesses under this scheme are shops and restaurants, excluding take-aways.
It wouldn’t be easy but Cllr. Joe Moloney hoped that the scheme could help some of the empty units get up and running in the New Year.
This was a very forward-thinking idea, said Cllr. P.J. Quinlan. It was very important that they had all the shop units on the main thoroughfare open, which added to the ambience of the town.
Everything in this scheme seemed to be very positive and it was a good incentive, said Cllr. Eddie Bennett.
It was a very good initiative and would be of assistance to new businesses because the rates could be quite punitive, said Cllr. Eoghan Lawrence.
This was a very attractive scheme, said Cllr. Dan Dillon, while Cllr. Martin Browne (Sinn Fein) hoped it would bring business to the town.
It would be marvellous even if it brought two or three businesses into the town centre, said Cllr. Sean McCarthy.
In response to a query from Cllr. McCarthy, the Town Clerk stated that the community and enterprise section of the County Council were liaising with the relevant parties, including the IDA, on attempts to find a replacement industry for the Cordis plant in Cashel, which is due to close shortly.