Mean banks hamper town centre revival
LACK OF CREDIT HOLDING BUSINESSES BACK
THE DIFFICULTY facing businesspeople looking for credit from banks to set up new businesses is hampering efforts to revive the town centre, Dundalk Town Council heard at their monthly meeting.
They were told that although there had been inquiries from people wishing to avail of rates rebate under the BIDS scheme for businesses going into vacant premises, the lack of finance was stopping them going ahead.
Senior Executive Officer David Storey said that there had been a number of submissions to have the BIDS area extended to take in shopping centres and retail parks beyond the town centre.
Under the BIDS scheme, new businesses setting up in a premises which has been vacant for two years can get a 50 per cent grant towards the rates in the first year, a 25 per cent grant in the second year, and in year three would have to pay the full amount.
He said that while there had been a number of inquiries about the rate rebate, only one person took it up.
' There is a difficulty for them in getting money to start businesses,' he said, adding that officials are continually meeting people who are interested in the initiative. Another three had expressed interest in the scheme since the refurbishment of the Market Square.
Cllr. Eamonn O'boyle welcomed the idea of reviewing the BIDS scheme. He noted that there were about 18 shops vacant in the town's main street and wondered if the rebate being offered was enough.
Mr. Storey said that the rates weren't an issue but that the financial institutions would need to start lending to get businesses going.
Cllr. Mark Dearey agreed that the lack of credit was a massive problem and said that it was beyond time that the banks begin to use their liquidity to loan money to businesses.
Cllr. Conor Keelan said he was in favour of keeping the scheme within the town centre.
Mr. Storey said that the majority of the applications had come from Clanbrassil Street with some from Crowe Street and Park Street. There was also interest in it from the Marshes Shopping Centre and the Retail Park.
Town Clerk Frank Pentony suggested that the councillors put together a sub-committee to review the scheme and Cllr. Martin Bellew proposed that one member from each grouping sit on it.