SINN Féin’s Shannon election candidate Mike McKee has proposed to Clare County Council that they apply a new commercial rates scheme for the Skycourt Shopping Centre. He suggests it should be based on guidelines such as how long a premises has been vacant.
Mr. McKee delivered a policy proposal document to the council and explained, “We need to develop Skycourt as a commercial and social hub for Shannon. That will encourage local people to shop locally and workers who visit Shannon every day to stop and shop here too. Lower rates will potentially provide more revenue as currently empty shells are opened up again. The weekly footfall in the centre is 50,000. That should be producing a far more vibrant shopping centre. The rents are actually amongst the lowest in the region but anyone we’ve talked to agrees that high commercial rates are a major problem”.
“Senator Trevor O’Clochartaigh has asked the council on our behalf for an explanation about the high rates being imposed on Skycourt. I delivered a proposed policy document to the council which aims address the problem. I believe we can encourage commercial activity and job creation by changing the guidelines for charging rates.
“If premises has been vacant for five years or more, there should be no rates charged on it for the first year. 25% rates should be charged for the next year, 50% for the following year and full rates after that. This will help retailers to set up, get over the first precarious period and become established. Another option is a six month rate free start up period followed by an agreed, viable rate payment scheme”.
“Limerick reduced their rates last year by 15%. If we are to compete in terms of job creation and economic activity we need a new approach from the County Council” he concluded.