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Councillors defended over retail role as business owners complain

Cranes tower over the still unfinished Naas Shopping Centre, pictured Wednesday, January 16, last.          Photo Tony Keane.

Cranes tower over the still unfinished Naas Shopping Centre, pictured Wednesday, January 16, last. Photo Tony Keane.

The role played by Naas-based councillors in creating out of town shopping centres has been defended.

The failure to the Naas Shopping Centre to open, coupled with the closure of a number of businesses - the most recent being a restaurant at North Main Street - has led to criticism of the logic behind allowing the centres.

Cllr. Darren Scully has reiterated that the shopping centres at Newhall, Monread Road and the Tesco development at Monread were the result of “zoning decisions” made by Kildare County Council between 1999 and 2004.

When it came to giving the Tesco centre the green light; this was a decision made by an Bord Pleanala and not councillors who were voted on to Naas Town Council.

He said Kildare County Council were in favour of the out of town centres because of the rates that would be generated for the local authority.

“The effect was the creation of a doughnut effect around Naas,” said Cllr Scully.

He said he was supportive of the Naas Shopping Centre proposal from the outset and this did not happen he said “because of the terrible management of the country’s finances by Fianna Fail, the recession and the hard economic landing that occurred early in 2008 just before the shopping centre could be opened and finished.”

He said efforts have been made to help town centre businesses through free parking on Saturdays and resisting rate increases for a number of years.

He added: “The silver bullet is to get the shopping centre open and a lot has been done with State agencies to try to secure an anchor tenant and I’m confident that this will be achieved.”

He said he has always been available to worth with the North Kildare Chamber to “come up with ways to increase footfall in the town.”

 

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