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EDITION NO. 34,877

Serving Cork for 120 years

Town’s plan to tackle scourge of vacant buildings is getting nation-wide attention

Cobh launches rates aid deal for shops

LOCAL AUTHORITIES By RONAN BAGNALL throughout the country are looking at a scheme in Cobh which is being introduced to ment. The number of vacancy buildings in town centres have become a deal with the scourge of major cause for concern, as shops vacant buildings in town continue to cease trading because of centres. depressed consumer sentiment and Cobh has 17 empty buildings along its main retail strip in the town centre. These range from former pubs, restaurants, newsagents, retail units, and an idle bank, which all fell victim to the economic environ-

the costs of doing business. As revealed recently in the Evening Echo there is a current vacancy rate of 20% in Cork city. However, Cobh has come up with an innovative scheme that helps fill

the idle units. Other local authorities are taking notice of this scheme. The initiative adopted by Cobh Town Council effectively cancels out the cost of commercial rates for start-up businesses — the first scheme of its kind in the country. It enables the town council to offer grants to offset commercial rates for start-up retailers and restaurants that occupy buildings that have been lying idle for more than two years. The deal also links in with landlords who are encouraged to match

the rates write-off with a reduction in rent for new businesses. In the first year of operations, a business can avail of a grant to the equivalent of a full year of commercial rates. In year two, it is 50% of the rates. This could potentially save a small business €3,000 a year if they got the grant and matching rent reduction — and much more for medium to large businesses. The aim of the initiative is to give new traders a leg-up by removing

An unoccupied retail building at Eastbeach in Cobh.

one of the costs of doing businesses. The scheme was the brainchild of town councillor, John Mulvihill Jnr, who said: “In this economic climate we need to give new start-ups any help we can. Other local authorities are now looking at the scheme we have in Cobh, to see if they can learn from us. I’ve been contacted by local authorities around the country and I’ve been invited to speak to Galway city council about it.” ● See pages 10 and11.

We’re off to China! Vienna Immed iate Delivery

Gill Blackburn and Gráinne Collins, Loreto, Fermoy. who are part of a group of students from almost 20 Cork schools who departed to Shanghai yesterday as part of the largest ever delegation of Irish students to visit China. The group will spend two weeks immersed in Chinese culture on an Easter Camp organised by University College Cork and Shanghai University. Picture: Provision

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