There are now over one hundred vacant commercial units in Dún Laoghaire. Conditions have become increasingly difficult for the remaining traders over the past five years. What can be done to reverse this situation?
Did you know that vacant shops are entitled to a full refund on rates? In effect, this means that the businesses that stay open have to pick up the tab for a landlord who leaves a building empty waiting for property prices to rise.
This rule needs to be changed so that a shop cannot be left vacant for years without paying any contribution to the running of the town.
Vacant commercial units that cannot be relet should be allowed to revert to residential or office use so that some life is brought back to the town.
Dún Laoghaire has a poor retail mix: some items like women’s clothing are hard to find and mid to high end retailers are missing. The council needs to attract some anchor tenants to fill in these gaps. I suggest that the council subsidise the business groups in the town to hire an expert on urban regeneration.
Parking is a problem. The council needs to stop relying on parking revenue to fund its budget. I suggest a “Free after Three” parking policy.
The link between the DART station and the town should be improved so that the many visitors to Dún Laoghaire can find the shopping area. There should be more bicycle parking in the commercial district. Overall, the experience of window shopping and strolling around the shops needs to be improved so that it becomes something pleasant to do.