Cllr Tom Farrell, Minister of State Peter Burke, Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Damien Clear in Moate.

Moate selected for funding for Town Centre First plan

Minister for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke and his Fine Gael colleague Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys have today announced that Moate will receive €100,000 in funding to deliver the first ever Town Centre First Plans, which will be key to tackling dereliction and revitalising town centres.

Moate is one of 26 towns selected nationwide in this new initiative, and the €100,000 in funding will support the development of Moate’s unique master plan.

Among the 26 towns selected are Clara in Offaly, Strokestown in Roscommon, Carrick-on-Shannon in Co. Leitrim, Skibbereen in Co. Cork, Roscrea in Co. Tipperary and Abbeyfeale in Co. Limerick.

Westmeath County Council will now work closely with local community groups, retailers and the other members of the community in Moate in devising and delivering on the objectives of the respective masterplans.

This initiative is a small, initial part of the new Town Centre First policy which will be announced by Ministers Burke and Humphreys early next year.

It is also linked to the Government’s ‘Housing for All’ strategy and “Our Rural Future” the policy announced earlier in the year by Minister Heather Humphreys.

Announcing the details of the 26 towns, Minister Humphreys said: “I am really pleased to announce the first ever Town Centre First Plans as part of a €2.6 million investment for Rural Ireland.

“Each local authority has put forward one of their towns which will receive €100,000 from my Department to develop its own unique master plan.”

Minister Burke said that he is looking forward to working with the stakeholders in Moate over the coming months:

“Moate is a great selection for a Town Centre First Town. One of the criteria is that towns must have less than 10,000 population and due to its central location in the county and busy town centre, it’s a great choice.

“I have been working with Councillor Tom Farrell in this area and he has supported the proposal of Moate as a pilot town with Westmeath County Council.”

Minister Burke said that Moate had gone from strength to strength in recent years, with the investment into Dún na Sí, the work of Moate Action Group and plans for a town enhancement scheme.

He said: “While the bank closing has been tough on the community, I am hopeful this announcement can breathe new life into the town and get more shops and businesses in situ on Main Street which will help both the community and the traders.

It is envisaged that the plans will cover the importance of “place-making”, town centre living, the social and economic purpose of the town, and respond to emerging opportunities such as those linked to remote working, climate action and digitalisation.

Towns for this first phase were selected based on submissions received from the local authorities.

The funding will support each local authority, working with a collaborative Town Team, to develop a be-spoke plan to guide the development of each town.

Each plan will set out specific actions and interventions and help unlock national funding streams, such as the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and the Town & Village Renewal Scheme, to resource the delivery of these interventions.

Fianna Fáil Minister of State Robert Troy welcomed confirmation of the funding.

“The inclusion of Moate in this scheme is another clear sign of our commitment to the town and how we want to see Moate grow and develop.

Minister of State Robert Troy in Moate.

"Moate has always been a vibrant town with great traditions, we want to ensure this vibrancy can be grown and that every opportunity is given to allow Moate to develop in a sustainable way into the future.

"There is so much that the town already has to offer and with the right plan in place we can ensure that Moate is perfectly placed to develop as a destination town in the Midlands where families can work locally and enjoy all of the leisure and recreational activities which the town, and surrounding areas already has to offer,” commented Minister Troy.

“I look forward to the local authority commencing engagement with all of the local stakeholders on the development of this masterplan which will link in with the substantial investment which has been secured for Moate through the Town Centre Enhancement programme for the coming year.

“All in all we can look forward to a very exciting time for Moate which I am sure will have a very positive impact on all of the people of the area,” he concluded.