Monday 24 June 2019

Shop vacancy rates to fall 'dramatically' - Chamber CEO

New Ross Chamber CEO Teresa Delaney
New Ross Chamber CEO Teresa Delaney

David Looby

The CEO of New Ross & District Chamber of Commerce has said business vacancy rates in New Ross, which stand at almost one in five business properties, will dramatically fall over the coming two years.

Teresa Delaney said the vacancy rate in New Ross, which stood at 20.1 per cent, has fallen by a percentage point over recent months.

The average vacancy rate in County Wexford's towns in mid-2017 stood at 10.8 per cent, among the lowest in the country.

Of the almost 212,000 commercial address in Ireland, more than 28,000 were vacant with 67.8 per cent of those empty for more than three years.

Gorey has one of the lowest vacancy rates in Ireland, however, New Ross is at the other end of the scale.

Gorey at 8.4 per cent is the town with the fourth lowest vacancy rate in Ireland, while Wexford town measures 11.9 per cent vacancy and Enniscorthy was at 15.9 per cent.

Ms Delaney said: 'We are aware of the statistics and we do see an improvement since 2016. It has come down by 1 per cent.'

Ms Delaney said the chamber is working hard to attract businesses to open in the town and district. 'We were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as bad as we thought it may have been. New Ross has a lot to offer, depending on what you are looking for. To me the product is there but we might not sell ourselves as well as other towns and cities. We have a lot to offer but our night time economy needs to improve.'

The chamber is working on an exciting project in conjunction with Wexford County Council to promote the area, she added. 'It's at the teething stage and will be completely unique to New Ross but will get off the ground this year.'

She said New Ross has a unique offering in terms of its river tourism possibilities and its history.

'We have a river and the quay and a unique offering as we are the only town in the country that could facilitate the Santa Cruise to Rosbercon. Our use of the water for events could be built upon.'

Ms Delaney said the opening of the New Ross ring road next April will be a defining moment for the town.

'The chamber and New Ross Municipal District council have been working together to improve the town. There is good cooperation and collaboration there for the past four to five years,' she added.

She welcomed the opening of the Kennedy Boutique Hotel and the availability of the apartments on North Quay and said the opening of the Docks Hotel later this year will provide more bed nights in the town, (along with the Brandon House Hotel and B&B providers), something which was missing from the town centre in the past.

'There are businesses opening up in the town centre like EuroHome and Clothesline is in the process of moving into the Xtra Vision building, with Sam McCauley's due to move into where Clothesline was.'

Ms Delaney said the municipal district council has been aided in getting funding to improve the town streets through the chamber, adding that she is optimistic that by the first quarter of 2020 the vacancy rate will have been 'dramatically reduced' in New Ross.

Commercial premises vacancy is a good indicator as to how a town is performing economically. The recent GeoView vacancy survey is a joint initiative of An Post and Ordinance Survey. Ms Delaney said by working more closely with the county's three other chambers it will help all of the county, urban and rural, to thrive.

New Ross Standard