Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has welcomed plans that have been developed by Bray Municipal District to help lift the retail industry in Bray and Enniskerry. The plan will see a number of measures being put in place to try helping increase footfall and attract new retailers to set up in Bray and Enniskerry.
Speaking after the council meeting Councillor Brady said “I’m delighted that a number of proactive measures have been agreed and are to be progressed to try help Bray re-establish itself as a major retail town. Bray is currently at a crossroads; unfortunately we have lost a large number of retailers in the recent past including Smyth’s. We have however attracted other retailers to establish in Bray and this has to be welcomed. What we need is a good mix of retail which will attract a higher footfall in the town which will help the many struggling retailers. The council is introducing a number of measures to try helping the retail industry, a Town Team will be set up, this will consist of key stakeholders and they will be tasked at making sure the town centre of Bray reaches its full potential”.
Brady went onto say a substantial fund has been set aside to implement a number of key measures “There is a fund in place of €100,000, there will be a number of key measures put in place. One of the main measures will be a Vacant Premises Incentive Scheme. This is being devised to try attract new retail into the District, it will offer a Grant payable to the equivalent of 50% of the Rates paid for the first year and a reduction of 25% in year two, key will be getting landlords to buy in the scheme and in tandem reduce the rents over the two year period. It’s important however to get a good mix of retail in this scheme and that it doesn’t impact on the existing retailers”.
“There will be a pilot scheme offering free parking in the towns two main car parks on Saturday’s, a public awareness campaign will be needed to promote this. At the meeting I raised the issue of traffic within the town and the need for the serious congestion that people experience getting into and out of the town to be addressed, the sequencing of the towns traffic lights needs to be looked at to ensure traffic runs smoothly and it doesn’t take 30 minutes to get from one end of the town to the other”.
Following a request from Councillor Bray an update on the Florentine Centre was also given at the meeting “I raised the status of the Florentine Centre and how that held the key to Bray’s upturn, it’s no secret that the 20 year saga has added to the town’s demise. The council purchased the 1.58 acre site in 2013 for €1.95m and have been progressing plans for its development. It’s hoped that a planning application for the site will be lodged prior to Christmas and it will consist of substantial retail space and a cinema. We need to get a major anchor tenant in the centre, it will also have a number of smaller retail space. This purpose built retail space in tandem with a badly needed cinema will bring the badly needed footfall into the town which in turn will entice further retail” explained Cllr Brady.
Cllr Brady concluded “Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option, I welcome these measures, and other measures such as Christmas in Bray and the hanging baskets which will help set the conditions to kick-start the retail industry in the Bray District. Discussions with major retailers will also continue to try entice them into the town. These measures will need to be monitored closely to ensure they are working, if they prove to be successful it could prove to be a template for other towns such as Arklow and Wicklow Town. Further discussions are due to held with some of the key stakeholders in the coming weeks”.