Hogan to abolish spatial strategy
The Government is scrapping the National Spatial Strategy because the resources have never been provided to create planned “gateways” and “hubs”, the Minister for the Environment has said.
Addressing the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs Enterprise and Innovation yesterday, Phil Hogan also criticised out-of-town shopping centres and asked local councils to cut development charges in town centres to encourage urban renewal.
Commenting on the National Spatial Strategy, a 20-year economic development plan which designated 18 gateways and hubs through which employment and investment were to be directed, Mr Hogan said it “didn’t work”.
“Nothing has happened” in the 10 years since the gateways and hubs were designated and there was little evidence of anything other than “a title” to show these were designated areas.
He said the strategy would be replaced with new proposals which would be circulated in a process of public consultation. A replacement was “about a year away”.
On the reform of local government, Mr Hogan said major towns which had town councils “will still be the focal point” for rural development after town councils are abolished.
His aim was to reorganise community development interests and local authority interests, combining them with State employment agencies, and create a network of “one-stop shops” for enterprise development .
There was currently “a plethora of organisations where nobody knows which one to go to”. He told TDs and Senators some agencies were not fit for purpose in accounting for their stewardship of public monies.
He instanced Mayo North East Leader, where he said the fraud squad had been sent in.
Mr Hogan said planned new Local Employment Offices in local authorities would bring together a range of employment support agencies, such as Leader and community enterprise projects, utilising community enterprise staff.
Enterprise Ireland staff would be seconded to local government to run them and “pay and pension issues won’t arise”.