Monday, 20th August 2018
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At the July Plenary Council Meeting, Cllr Eddie Mulligan was voted Chair of the Economic and Enterprise Committee Strategic Policy (SPC) Committee. He immediately promised that his voice "Would be heard as Chair of this important SPC" and wants a collaborative role for the Economic SPC, in the new shop front policy being drafted.

Contained within the Management Report, which was circulated at the same meeting, it was reported, by the Planning Department, that research is being carried out on a new policy on shop front design. This will specifically look at associated signage, security measures and street furniture. It was stated in the report that it is intended to have further details on these topics, for discussion, at SPC and plenary council level in the next few of months.

Due to the prolonged nature of the meeting and the unavailability of a question time on the Managers Report, Cllr Mulligan has written to the Mayor. He has requested that the Economic and Enterprise SPC be permitted to have direct input with the Planning SPC on this specific matter. "Within Ireland's Oldest City, trading is still challenging and economic stabilisation only commenced for many retailers and businesses late last year. The local economy is still very fragile. In the midst of this, it is vital that we get the aesthetics of shop fronts right.

More particularly the shop front signage, as we create a City experience that will ensure Waterford City is the retail and recreational destination of choice for the half million people of the South East" stated Cllr Mulligan.

Cllr Mulligan would like see the Economic and Enterprise Committee examine the feasibility of expanding the local "Fit Out and Economic Support Grants", which were provided in the form of commercial rates relief, to a new Shop Front New/Improvement Grants. When the Planning SPC have finalised the details, in relation to a City or Town theme throughout the County, Cllr Mulligan would like to see an incentive being created. This will ensure shops and businesses invest in their shop fronts, in accordance with the new Planning SPC Policy Theme.

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