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New council will be a ‘vital player’ in shaping local economy’s future

The business community in Newry needs to  wake up to the challenges of the now super-council. That’s the message from the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Association (NIRTA) as it launched its manifesto Local First in Newry. Local First has over 80 recommendations for the new super councils that include strong town centre first planning policy, free wi-fi by 2020, iPhone apps by 2016, retail Incubators in town centres, restructured and enhanced Chambers of Commerce and on street car parking transferred to council by 2020. NITRA CEO and author of the project Glyn Roberts said the reorganisation of local government will see enhanced powers to councils which will make them a “vital player” in shaping the future in local economies: “By and large the local business community in Newry needs to wake up to the huge challenges and opportunities that the new council will offer. It could be the change maker for economic development, radically new town centres, innovation and urban regeneration. With their enhanced powers this council will be a vital player in shaping the future of the local economy and it is essential that the private sector engages with party candidates in this election to ensure they can hit the ground running when power is transferred in 2015. Our manifesto Local First is an economic programme for local government setting out 80 ideas about how the 11 councils working with the Northern Ireland Executive can help create employment, regenerate town centres, revamp car parking and ensure they adopt a fair planning policy. We want to see Newry City Centre reclaiming its rightful position and role as a place that serves its communities, visitors, businesses and key stakeholders with a quality of experience that encourages them to keep coming back and staying longer.” Mr Roberts said NIRTA wants to see the new councils set ambitious targets for economic and social regeneration and above all “deliver for the communities that elect them.”


Newry Democrat

15th April 2014