Carlow County Council launched “My Carlow”, a major development plan designed to regenerate and revitalise Carlow Town Centre on 3rd May 2018.
The “My Carlow” plan is focussed on delivering a Town Centre that meets the needs of locals, tourists and businesses by providing easy access, attractive surroundings and public spaces suitable for relaxing and socialising and as venues for a variety of events. Today’s launch of the plan is followed by a period of public consultation until 31 May. Copies of the plan and information on how to take part in the consultation process can be found at www.carlow.ie and will be on display in Visual, County Buildings & the Shaw Room.
Hosting the launch Cllr. Jim Deane Mayor of the Municipal District of Carlow said:-
“I’m delighted to be able to announce a plan which demonstrates a well-researched and compelling vision for the future of Carlow Town Centre. “My Carlow” is a vital project if our Town Centre is to survive and thrive and compete successfully with a number of rival destinations in the area. I invite all local residents and businesses to take part in the consultation process and help ensure the plan benefits from as much input as possible. “My Carlow” is about making our town centre a success and a place to be proud of so let’s help make that happen.”
Carlow County Council Chief Executive, Kathleen Holohan said of “My Carlow.”
“What draws people to Town Centres has changed significantly over the years. Shops are important but is it no longer just about shops, people now want places to meet and socialise and to have a Town Centre that’s an attractive destination to spend time in.
Right now Carlow doesn’t even have places for visitors to sit out and enjoy a coffee let alone the sort of events and attractive public spaces offered by other towns competing with us for visitors and businesses.
“My Carlow” is focussed on the creation of a template for a reimagined Carlow Town Centre with the layout, amenities and atmosphere that will make it a place locals and visitors want to visit and businesses regard as an attractive and profitable location.
The council has thoroughly researched what is needed for the Town to bring “My Carlow” to the people of Carlow for their views. We have drawn on national and international experience in order to present the public with a plan which will transform the Town Centre to meet the needs of present and future generations.. In tandem with the plan a Town Centre Coordinator is being appointed and a Strategic Town Forum will be set up to ensure a co-ordinated approach to supporting the business community in the development of complimentary supporting projects to ensure the regeneration package meets the needs of the town and all potential visitors and businesses.”
The key elements proposed for the first phase of the plan is the redevelopment of Upper Tullow Street. Future stages proposed include:
- The creation of a new central plaza in Potato Market with attractive architectural features, seating areas and a space for events to attract both locals and tourists.
- New pedestrian access to the town from the Fairgreen Shopping Centre.
- Upgrades of all street finishes including footpaths.
- New street furniture including public lighting, seating and bins
The proposed plan will also involve a revised traffic flow to facilitate the development of the expanded public spaces. The new traffic scheme will still provide easy access to the 3000 plus car parking spaces that are all within approximately 5 minutes walking distance or less of the town.
The “My Carlow” plan was developed by Nicholas de Jong and Associates and speaking about the plan Mr de Jong said:-
“My Carlow” has been designed to provide for the future while respecting the past. The new Town Centre structure and layout is sympathetic to the existing town architecture and ensures that “Old Carlow” is retained while building a Town Centre fit to thrive by meeting present and future visitor and business needs.”
The overall cost of the project is estimated at €15m with funding expected to be spread between Council Resources, Government Funding and EU Grants. Following a statutory process, it is proposed that work will start on Phase One in early 2019.