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Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Programme


A trans-disciplinary Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Programme which was carried out in conjunction with participating towns across the country. 

A trans-disciplinary Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Programme which was carried out in conjunction with participating towns across the country. 

Update 2023-The process of town health checks is now carried out by the National Town Centre First office as part of the Town Centre First government policy.


The Heritage Council, RGDATA and the Retail Consortium, in collaboration with the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, the IPI, ILI, RIAI, UCD, LIT Thurles, DIT and QUB, developed a trans-disciplinary National Town Centre Health Check Programme in conjunction with participating towns across the country. The programme will support the creation of robust Collaborative Town Centre Health Checks for 9 no. Irish towns. This work was linked to the statutory planning system through the review of county development plans and Local Area Plans.’ As part of the Town Centre First government policy town health checks are now carried out by the National Town Centre First office.’

Aims and Objectives

The aim of the programme is to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation of the critical role that historic town centres play and the wide-ranging impacts that their vitality and viability have on overall socio-economic, environmental and cultural growth and development, and on quality of life for citizens and visitors alike. The ‘pilot’ aims to develop an innovative town centre-led retail, cultural heritage and tourism baseline, which will be recognised internationally as a best practice collaborative development model for regeneration. Essentially, this would be an innovative national ‘Towns’ capacity-building programme designed by, and for, Local Authorities, town centre businesses and local citizens/community groups with close mentoring support from professional practitioners with significant experience of town centre regeneration, urban design and planning and management in Ireland, and elsewhere.

The proposal will build upon Collaborative Town Centre Health Check (CTCHC) projects already undertaken by the Heritage Council and its key Partners including Fingal County Council/Balbriggan Chamber of Commerce in Balbriggan in 2010; and Clare County Council/Kilrush Tidy Towns, in Kilrush in 2012 (available below).

The following third-level organisations and institutes are involved as programme partners:

  1. Dundalk IT
  2. IT Sligo
  3. IT Tralee
  4. Letterkenny IT
  5. QUB
  6. UCD
  7. TU Dublin

Policy Paper on the Collaborative Town Centre Health Check (CTCHC) Programme- June 2020


The Health Check will establish an innovative baseline, to help monitor and drive the development of the town centre going forward. The work of the Collaborative Town Centre Health Check will include

  • Land Use surveys to establish the overall vacancy rates in the town.
  • Retailer surveys to establish current levels of commercial activity and outlook.
  • Pedestrian counts to establish actual town centre visitor numbers.
  • Shoppers surveys to rate visitor experience and satisfaction.

Members of the public and business owners are encouraged to participate and give their views on their experiences in the town centre. It is an opportunity to shape town centres and strengthen it into the future, to make it an attractive place to work, live and visit.


Due to an exponential growth in demand for the ‘pilot’ rogramme during 2016/2017, i.e. 70 no. people attended the first workshop in Naas Town Hall (September 2016) and 130 no. people attended the second workshop in Dublin Castle (March 2017), i.e. 90% increase in demand for places, the programme has been divided into two key strands, as of April 2018, namely:

  • Border Towns – a workshop was held in Monaghan for Border Towns in June 2018 in partnership with Monaghan County Council. A Border Towns CTCHC Workshop Feedback Report has recently been finalised (December 2018, download report here). A final draft of this report was submitted to the partner Departments in September 2018. 50 no. people from towns all along the Border attended the first workshop and a second training workshop for Border Towns will be held in Dundalk on the 11th April 2019
  • Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) Towns – this first-ever AEC CTCHC workshop was delivered on the 22nd November 2018 in Ballina in partnership with Mayo County Council and the partner government departments including the Department of Rural and Community Development. 60 no. people from various backgrounds attended from towns located all along the west coast. As with the Border Towns Workshop, it is planned that a workshop feedback report will be prepared and circulated to all attendees for comment/input before finalisation and publication in April 2019.

The Participating Towns

  • Ballina
  • Ballyshannon
  • Bundoran
  • Carrick-on-Shannon
  • Dingle
  • Donegal Town
  • Ennis
  • Dundalk
  • Killarney
  • Listowel
  • Letterkenny
  • Monaghan
  • Sligo
  • Tipperary
  • Tralee

Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Reports & Surveys

Upcoming events

Stay tuned for upcoming events.

Past events Presentations & Information Packs

Workshop for Owners & Leaseholders of Vacant Properties in Tipperary Town
6th October 2022

View the workshop report below

Reeling in the Year 2021

It's been a busy year for our Collaborative Town Centre Health Programme. Join us on Wednesday 24th at 2:00pm as we reel in the year, taking a look back at all the activities that took place in 2021.

Meanwhile Use Webinar

We take a look at "meanwhile use" a common practice across Europe to tackle the scourge of vacant buildings. Hear all about our recent research carried out by Anois which shows how meanwhile use could potentially bring 30-40% of vacant commercial properties in our Towns back into use, quickly and cheaply.

Young Planners Forum-“How the digital transformation in our historic town centres can lead to a society for all”

16th September 2021

UCC Planning Society in conjunction with The Heritage Council.

View feedback report below

Town Centres Land & Buildings Management & CSOs in Europe

This first-ever webinar on Compulsory Sale Orders (CSO) aims to shine a light on what other countries in Europe are doing to deal proactively with vacancy in historic town centres & what we can learn from their experiences.

Watch it back on Youtube below

Historic Town Centres- The EU Green Deal and Creation of SEA Indicators

On 25th February 2021, The Heritage Council held a Stakeholder Workshop with The Heritage Council’s CTCHC Programme and Partners. The downloads below contain the briefing pack for the workshop and the groupwork feedback slides.

Informing the Emerging National Policy on Architecture

On Friday 12th June 2020, A Harvey presented at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht's and the RIAI workshop on Town Centres, to inform the emerging National Policy on Architecture. View the presentation below.

‘Pilot’ Workshop for Owners and Leaseholders of Vacant Property in Dundalk Town Centre- December 2019

Groupwork Feedback from Attendees — For Agreement

Strengthening The Ireland-Scotland Collaboration on Town Centres
Workshop December 2019- Workshop Feedback

Second Workshop for Border Towns- April 2019

A second CTCHC Workshop for Border Towns was held in Dundalk on the 11th April 2019 – 65 no. people attended. The training pack can be downloaded below.

Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) Towns Training Workshop, Ballina, 22nd November 2018

Presentations from Training Day in Ballina November 2018

Presentations available upon request. Email

Border Towns Training Workshop, Monaghan Town, 21st June 2018

Presentations Workshop Border Towns June 2018

Presentations from Training Day March 2017

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