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Thursday 13 December 2018

So much to offer: Community leader backs Tipperary to deliver the goods

Bitter pill: Five shops are closed on Main Street, Tipperary town, opposite Shane Kelly’s pharmacy. Photo: Liam Burke
Bitter pill: Five shops are closed on Main Street, Tipperary town, opposite Shane Kelly’s pharmacy. Photo: Liam Burke
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

The last time the Chamber of Commerce carried out a count, 23 shops had closed down in Tipperary town.

"Internet trading is causing issues for traders, so essentially when you're trying to compete with the Amazons of this world, you're at a competitive disadvantage," said chamber chairman Shane Kelly, who runs a pharmacy in the town centre.

"Add that to the fact there's been very little investment in the town for the last generation, little or no job creation and the average spend has declined.

"There's a perception there's better value on the web for consumable items and the individual retailer has difficulty competing."

Mr Kelly explained that during the economic boom there were "poor planning decisions made" and this had created the perfect retail storm in the town.

"We have a number of supermarkets and shopping centres outside the centre of town," the pharmacist said.

"The decision to allow those to be built there has had a lasting effect. But through good planning, those issues could be resolved.

"The other issue is Tipperary town is on the N24 main road between Waterford and Limerick, Ireland's third and fourth major cities and yet we never got a bypass.

"We have close to 1,000 vehicles, including HGVs up and down the main street every day, so it's an unpleasant place to visit because of that. We need a bypass and traffic management system for Tipperary to thrive.

"We have cheaper house prices, great schools and healthcare, so we need to take a leaf out of the UK's book and grow our provincial populations in towns like Tipperary and that in turn will support local business.

"We have fast broadband, an excellent water and electricity supply, all the necessary amenities and third level colleges nearby. There is everything already here for families and workers, so I cannot understand why more people don't move from Dublin to Tipperary and certainly housing is more affordable."

The capital is within 90 minutes on the train, Mr Kelly added, while broadband allowed workers the option to work remotely and live in a more affordable home. A three-bed semi-detached house can currently be bought for €135,000 in Tipperary town.

Irish Independent

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