Over €2m investment proposed for Mallow under Urban Centre Grant Scheme

Mallow, which has been designated a hub town under the National Spatial Strategy since 2002, is finally set to benefit financially from its hub status with the announcement of the Designated Urban Centre Grant Scheme. Cllr John Paul O’Shea, Mayor of County Cork, who attended the announcement of the grant scheme this week, said it was estimated that the town could benefit by at least €2 million. “Mallow will be one of 4 gateway cities and 6 hub towns in the south and eastern region seeking a portion of this overall funding pot of €52m, and not having received any funding previously, is well placed to achieve a significant funding allocation over the coming months,” he predicted.

The councillor added, “This is an ideal opportunity for the town of Mallow to finally benefit financially from its designation as a hub town. It has not benefited one bit since it was designated as a hub town back in 2002. In fact, it has been prevented from accessing other funding avenues such as LEADER funding due to its hub status, thus losing out on many development opportuni-ties.”

Minister of State Seán Sherlock, however, sounded a note of caution about the announcement, saying, “of the €2 million, €1 million has to be allocated by Cork County Council. There is no evidence at this stage that Cork County Council has allocated €1million to Mallow Town. I would ask the Mayor has the Council committed the €1million for Mallow so as to draw down the additional €1 million to be provided under the European Regional Development Fund. It may be useful for the Chief Executive of the Council to make a statement to clarify.”

“The Southern Regional Assembly will administer the fund and they have only written to the local authorities this past week calling for proposals. I would urge caution at this point. I would never announce €2 million funding unless I was sure that it was in the bag. And it is not in the bag yet,” he said.

The scheme, which will be co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and local authorities, was launched by Paudie Coffey, Minister for State with responsibility for Planning, where he said that €26m had specifically been made available to support the Designated Urban Centre Grant Scheme in the 13 counties in the Southern and Eastern Regional area. “This funding, when co-financed by local authorities will result in an overall investment of €52m in designated urban centres in these 13 counties over the next three years, including Mallow.”

Mayor O’Shea said he would be working closely with the executive of Cork County Council and with the business and community sector in Mallow over the coming months in identifying a key project or projects in order to submit an application for this grant scheme. “Projects already coming to mind include the re-development of Mallow Town Hall as a unique interpretative centre and theatre. Another key project would be to transform the recently purchased Town Park to a more open, friendly and recreational amenity. The further development of the grounds of Mallow Castle and the development of the Mallow boardwalk also comes to mind in terms of key projects to advance here,” he said.

Applications for the scheme must be received by October of this year, with allocations being announced towards year-end.