Monaghan Town Centre’s Pulse Taken in First-ever Town Centre Health Check

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The findings of a major new RED C survey, on the strengths and opportunities for Monaghan Town Centre have been released today by the Monaghan Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Team

Funded by the Heritage Council, the consumer survey reveals people’s impressions and perceptions of the town’s shopping and eating options along with leisure and entertainment facilities. Consumers felt that the historic border town would benefit from improved public realm, more parking and more shops and more cultural events.

Virginia Teehan, the CEO of the Heritage Council, hailed the Heritage Council’s role saying that the collaborative approach is crucial in effecting change in our country’s historic towns. “We’re looking to ensure that our towns survive and thrive in a time of great uncertainty, particularly in light of Brexit. This collaborative approach allows everyone to play a role in planning the future of our respective town centres”.

Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation stressed the importance of the survey findings: I warmly welcome this comprehensive piece of research on Monaghan Town Centre, which will assist in building a common vision for the future sustainability of the town. Border towns, like Monaghan, now more than ever need all stakeholders working together to plan for the future, particularly in the face of challenges like Brexit. Thank you to everyone involved in delivering this survey, including the Monaghan Town Team and Monaghan County Council for all their hard work on the ground.”

The RED C survey, which was funded by the Heritage Council, focuses on a number of key indicators of the overall health of the town centre including: level of town centre activities and consumers’ perceptions of the overall quality of the environment of the historic town centre. The report is part of the much wider initiative of the Monaghan Town Centre Health Check Team. The Red C Report is being launched by Minister of for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys T.D. on 19th July at 10am in the Market House, Monaghan Town.

The consumer survey showed that:

  • Cafes, restaurant and food appear high on the list of reasons to visit Monaghan. 90% are happy with the food and restaurant offering in town (Restaurant Association Ireland’s Top 10 Foodie Destination in 2016, 2017 and 2018);
  • Overall, 66% of people are happy with public seating. Town centre amenity could be improved in terms of green space and seating;
  • Of the 408 consumers/visitors surveyed only 37% shop online, indicating that people still use bricks and mortar as primary shopping (National average is 52%). Top 4 items purchased online include Clothing, Tech, Beauty Products and Concert tickets;
  • A key feature of the historic town centre is that it is compact and easy to get around, with approximately 4 in 5 users of Monaghan town rating ease of access and getting around the town as good or very good (80%);
  • Shopping is the main factor driving usage of Monaghan Town centre users, however those surveyed would like to see more a modern range of shops; and
  • There is a feeling that Brexit will impact negatively on the town.

Monaghan was selected (along with six other towns) to participate in the Heritage Council’s Pilot Town Centre Health Check Training Programme with partners the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Local Authorities, Third-Level educational organisations and institutes and RGDATA. The project team which completed the comprehensive CTCHC survey of Monaghan Town Centre, includes representatives from Monaghan County Council’s Planning and Heritage Offices, University College Dublin (UCD), and the Monaghan Town Team, with ongoing support provided by the Heritage Council. The CTCHC Training Programme currently has 12 no. towns involved in the programme with other towns on a waiting list to join.

According to the Heritage Council’s Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Programme Co-ordinator, Ali Harvey, “the results of the Red C Consumer Survey Report will help to inform and guide plans for the revitalisation of Monaghan Town Centre. Robust baseline data is vital to ensure that our traditional town centres move with the times – we need to adapt to current trends and ensure that we offer a unique visitor experience in a quality historic place.”

Maire Cullinan from Monaghan County Council’s Planning Department emphasised, “The insights provided by the Red C Consumer Survey Report confirms the Council’s strategy for the Dublin Street area, which sets out a framework to regenerate this historic streetscape in a manner that is both contemporary and forward looking, providing opportunities for town centre living and working, with attractive cultural and social event spaces, enabling an integrated live/work/play balance.”

Welcoming the Monaghan Collaborative Town Centre Health Check process, the Monaghan Town Centre Co-ordinator Trevor Connolly said the Red C Report is a positive and constructive basis on which Monaghan Town Centre can be further enhanced and promoted. “This was a truly collaborative baseline survey involving the town’s key strategic partners and it gives us a great baseline for taking stock of Monaghan’s unique commercial and cultural assets. The Heritage Council has been a huge support helping us to compile this consumer survey. Our goal is to work together with willing partners to create and deliver projects that address any weaknesses that have been identified and build on our strengths as a town servicing a cross-border catchment.

In this time of Brexit and challenging trading environment, we need to be equipped with this sort of data to collaboratively guide and build our future. The Heritage Council’s role in this has been critical. Monaghan is a bustling, vibrant market town with so much to offer and this collaborative survey will help us to enhance and maximise the quality of life for everyone in the town” he said.

Contact: Alison Harvey Email: aharvey@heritagecouncil.ie – M. 087 419 3458

Contact Maire Cullinan mcullina@monaghancoco.ie – M. 047-30500