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Tuam revitalisation begins with major drive to find new use for vacant buildings

A fresh initiative has been unveiled to inject life into some of the many vacant business premises around Tuam town centre.

It will see strenuous efforts made over the coming months to match-up the owners of these properties with potential occupiers.

This is all part of the Reimagine Tuam initiative which was outlined at a meeting of Tuam Municipal Council this week.

Senior Architect Helena McElmeel told local elected representatives that her role was to look at the vacancy rates in the town and try and link up with the owners of these properties.

She explained that this process began at the beginning of the summer and involved “a walk and talk through the town” and described the response as extremely positive.

Ms McElmeel said that some of the long-term vacant buildings, particularly along Shop Street and at The Square, were probably “key business outlets” in the past.

One of the main aims of Reimagine Tuam is to, first of all, identify the owners of the vacant and often derelict properties and then encourage them bring these buildings back into use.

She said that there were supports in place to allow this to happen and added that there were a lot of groups, even from an artistic point of view, who were looking for space if it were to become available.

“I have received very positive feedback from the owners that I have contacted,” added Ms McEmeel who informed the meeting that she had initially spoken to five property owners in the town.

“So far, so good,” she remarked and asked councillors to provide her with any information regarding the ownership of other vacant or derelict buildings in Tuam.

The initiative was welcomed by members of Tuam Municipal Council who said that it was often the case that one large unoccupied building on a street created a bad impression of the town.

However, Cathaoirleach Cllr Donagh Killilea (FF) said that there was “a huge amount” of dereliction in Tuam and it was very encouraging that it was now being addressed.

“But, at the same time, one large empty building can create a bad impression of the town when there have been so many new openings in Tuam in recent years.

“It is also the case that four individuals own the vast majority of the vacant properties in the town and it is high time that they stood up to the mark now that we are taking the initiative,” added Cllr Killilea.

Cllr Pete Roche (FG) asked if the regeneration process could be extended to the old railway station in Tuam which he said had loads of potential.

However, Ms McElmeel said that it was unlikely as, given the extent of the building there and the works that would be required to bring it back int

Pictured: Senior architect Helen McElmeel.o use, it would exhaust the limited resources they had to bring vacant properties back to life.


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