Dún Laoghaire Town have been selected as a finalist for a major business award for their success in improving Dún Laoghaire town centre over the past two years.
The Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) is a well-respected body that promotes excellence in town and city management at both a European and wider global level. The ATCM awards recognises the contribution of key stakeholders (business communities, local authorities and residents) in improving their high streets, towns and city centres.
Being a finalist in the category of “Diversifying the Business Mix” is a great accolade for Dún Laoghaire Town and the local Business Improvement District (BID) which was voted in by the businesses in Dún Laoghaire less than two years ago. BID now represents over 800 ratepayers, over 7,000 jobs and its efforts have resulted in over 72 new businesses opening in the town with a number of others already on the way. This has also resulted in a reduction in the number of vacant retail premises on the main street from 45 to 19.
Last year BID also launched the Dún Laoghaire 20:20 vision, a major five year strategy to revitalise the town centre, by segmenting Georges Street into four distinctive quarters: (Interiors, Retail, Business/Residential and Cultural/Artisan), each with a concentration of themed offerings. The strategy also provides for the development of cycle lanes to connect the town to thousands of residents and students located just fifteen minutes away from the centre.
Free high speed open air WIFI has made the town a very pleasant place to visit, all the way from the People’s Park to the West Pier and a staggering 900,000 people logged onto the WIFI in 2015.
The ATCM awards celebrate the work of Business Improvement Districts as an independent alternative, in other words, the business people co-operating to improve their own town, working to diversify the business mix, to restore footfall and to encourage other new business people to join them.
Strategic priorities for the town in 2016 include attracting a further 50 new businesses supported by the establishment last years of a dedicated Property Forum, headed up by Cormac Kennedy, Group Head of Property at Eason. The new Forum has documented all vacant business premises in one location to simplify the process for estate agents and new businesses and plans to hold keys for vacant premises centrally in the BID office so estate agents have a one-stop shop and an easy supportive process bring new businesses to Dún Laoghaire.
The Chair of Dún Laoghaire BID Company, Don McManus today said he welcomed the good news that the town has been shortlisted for the award: “I am not surprised, there is so much goodwill among the business people, so much energy and enthusiasm going into the development of Dún Laoghaire. I can only say thank you to everyone who is making it happen, opening new businesses, keeping the older ones going, shopping in the town and realising that it is one wonderful place to visit, to live and to open a business”.