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Douglas is open for business

Wednesday, 4th March, 2020 4:49pm

Since the fire that ripped through the car park of Douglas Village Shopping Centre last August, Douglas has put out a clear message that it is still very much open for business.

“It has been exceptionally tough on the people of Douglas, obviously with the shopping centre gone, there is a large number of retail units that would have drawn in and attracted people; Marks and Spencers, Tesco and TK Maxx would have drawn people in and then those people would have gone in to the other businesses and stopped and had lunch,” said Douglas native and city councillor Mary Rose Desmond, “but Douglas is very much open for business.”

Cork City Council have been very active in helping Douglas business by offering free parking in council-owned car parks in Douglas for two hours until the end of May.

With the shopping centre on target to open in summer of this year, Cllr Desmond said: “I have been in touch with most of the tenants on an ongoing basis, some have even re-opened and relocated in the city. However, they have all stated that it is their intention to return to Douglas.”

“Some units managed to find alternatives like O’Connor’s Chemist who have opened in Douglas Woolen Mills, (but) I do believe it is their intentions to return also. Others have looked at doing things entirely differently like Breslin Butchers who have massively advertised a delivery service in the area out of their Carrigaline-based store. Others haven’t relocated and are waiting to see,” said Cllr Desmond.

Welcome to Cork city

It’s been almost a year since the boundary change that saw Douglas and surrounding areas transferred in to become part of Cork City Council's area. The change saw circa 85,000 citizens leave the county to join the city last May.

“People were a bit dubious towards the boundary change as a lot of people didn’t want to be sucked in to the city as they wouldn’t have the same level of services,” said Cork City Councillor and former county councillor Mary Rose Desmond, “but I have been very impressed by the way Cork City Council are looking after us.”

There is still a transition period and there is work set to be finished by the county council.

Cllr Desmond, reflecting on her time in Cork County Council said: “When I was a councillor in the county, we worked hard to address the vacancy rates in Douglas. A taskforce had been put together in 2018 to do this job. That is showing now, there is a chemist gone in to the old Xtra-vision unit and a restaurant is due to be opened in the main street of the village. I love to see things like that back in the main street in the village.”

That taskforce is still ongoing and trying to get the largest units filled. Since being transferred to the city council, Cllr Desmond said “there is a very positive attitude and open communication across the board. After the fire, the Lord Mayor and the CE of the City Council were out in Douglas within 24 hours after the fire. There has been a very hands on approach.”

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