NAAS has been shortlisted as a pilot town by Retail Excellence Ireland in a bid to rejuvenate its business life.
The application to become a pilot town is part so plan by business owners and traders in Naas to encourage more people to shop in the town centre.
Town centre traders are battling against the effects of the Tesco-led shopping centre in Monread, the mothballed town centre shopping centre and a fall in consumer spending.
Some 100 towns around Ireland were eligible to apply for pilot status. A total of 36 towns actually applied to become pilot towns and the two winners will be announced on Thursday (June 6).
REI is the largest industry trade body Ireland and according got it the benefits of selection as a pilot town or city are a Support from committee organisations to establish a “town team”, assistance with the development of the plan and support for the local authority.
Naas was the subject of a study commissioned by Naas Town Council and North Kildare Chamber, paid for by the ratepayers and which contained one or two fairly obvious observations such as that Poplar Square is not actually a square.
Unsurprisingly the canal was identified as amenity which would bring more people to the town through water-based events.
The report also highlighted the town’s advantages such as good retail facilities, quality transport links, the town’s history and the quality of the community and leisure facilities in Naas.
Naas’s bid for the pilot town was drafted by businesswoman Antoinette Buckley and Cllr. Emer McDaid, who stress the opportunity provided by the Kerry Group and the jobs it will create.
The point out the challenges facing the town such as out of town shopping centres and the raltive proximity of the Whtiewater Shopping Centre, Dublin city, Dundrum Town Centre and shopping centres in Blanchardstown and Liffey Valley.
They say Naas retailers strugglers to compete with out of town shopping centre hours as well as the fact that customers have to pay to park in the town.
- Paul O’Meara