Ballina chosen for national ‘Town Centre Health Check’ Programme

Ballina chosen for national ‘Town Centre Health Check’ Programme

Ballina is one of 10 towns which have been chosen to take part in a national Town Centre Health Check pilot programme. The pilot which aims to support socio-economic, cultural and enterprise growth and development and sustainable tourism within historic Irish towns, has been developed by the National Heritage Council and RGDATA.

Irish town centres are extremely important in terms of national, regional and local growth and development. They contribute to local distinctiveness, identity and sense of place. One of the aims of this pilot is to raise awareness and understanding of the crucial role that our historic town centres play and the wide-ranging impacts that their vitality, vibrancy and viability have on overall socio-economic, environmental and cultural growth and development, and on quality of life for citizens and visitors alike.


‘Collaboration, Co-Operation and Co-Ordination’ the key behind Ballina’s Health Check

Partnering with Mayo County Council on this initiative are GMIT, Ballina Chamber of Commerce and Ballina Tidy Towns. The National Town Centre Health Check Programme will enable the local authority, local businesses and local citizens to assess how their town centre is performing, and will facilitate them to form local partnerships to prepare and implement an agreed and shared Town Centre Management Strategy.

Heritage Council TCHC ‘Pilot’ Programme Co-ordinator Alison Harvey said, “Irish Town Centres have a rich critical mass of heritage assets with hundreds of years of living history in our buildings, streets, parks and squares. We are delighted to collaborate with so many local authorities, chambers, communities and third-level institutes on this exciting ‘pilot’ training and capacity-building programme, which aims to enhance overall vitality and viability and ensure that our historic towns survive and thrive for future generations”

Town Centre Health Check Ballina

Left/Right; Michael Hogan, Ballina Tidy Towns; John Scahill, GMIT; Dr. Deirdre Cunningham, Heritage Officer, Mayo County Council; Bernadette Cunningham, Mayo County Council; Mags Martin, Ballina Chamber of Commerce; Alison Harvey, The Heritage Council; Kevin O’Callaghan, GMIT.

Survey work for the ‘Health Check’ of Ballina’s town centre.

GMIT students will be in Ballina Friday and Saturday, 4th and 5th November, carrying out land use surveys to establish retail and residential patterns, and vacancy rates in the town centre; shoppers’ surveys to rate visitor experience and satisfaction; and footfall surveys to establish actual town centre visitor numbers. Other surveys to be carried out by Mayo County Council and Ballina Chamber of Commerce include retailer surveys to establish current levels of commercial activity and outlook; vehicle counts, car parking and permeability. Environmental quality, crime figures and other existing studies carried out by Mayo County Council will be incorporated into the study.


Speaking about the project, Mags Martin, Ballina Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Office said “We are delighted that Ballina has been chosen for this initiative. It is a great opportunity for us to work with Mayo County Council Heritage Officer and Planners, GMIT and The Heritage Council to research and collect vital information on the health of our town. It will give the chamber and everyone involved direction and focus, and enable us to plan in the best possible way for the future of Ballina”.

Town Centre Health Check Team 2016

Left/Right; Dr Deirdre Cunningham, Mayo County Council; Mags Martin, Ballina Chamber of Commerce, Kevin O’Callaghan, GMIT; John Scahill, GMIT.

This collaborative programme will develop an innovative town centre-led commercial, cultural heritage and tourism baseline. Driving forward by all the project partners. It is envisaged that this pilot programme will be recognised internationally as a best practice collaborative model for town centre management and revitalisation. Further information on the project is available at



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