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

The findings of a major new face-to-face and online consumer survey, focusing on the strengths and opportunities for Tipperary Town Centre, have been released today [Thursday 16th December 2021] by the Heritage Council.

The findings of a major new survey on the strengths and opportunities for Tipperary Town Centre have been released today by the Tipperary Collaborative Town Centre Health Check (CTCHC) Project. Funded by the Heritage Council’s Collaborative Town Centre Health Check (CTCHC) Programme, which is included in the Programme for Government, the in-depth consumer survey reveals people’s impressions of the historic town’s shopping and eating options along with impressions of current cycling and entertainment facilities. For example, consumers felt strongly that the historic county town would benefit from reduced vacancy and dereliction, less traffic and more cycling facilities along with the establishment of a town- based ‘click and collect’ service and more cultural events in the town centre.

According to the CTCHC Programme’s Founding Co-ordinator, Ali Harvey, “the Tipperary CTCHC Consumer Survey will help to guide investment for the future management and revitalisation of Tipperary Town Centre.” She continued, highlighting the Heritage Council’s key role as a champion of the CTCHC Programme saying that the collaborative approach is crucial in effecting change in our historic towns around the country. “We’re looking to ensure that our historic town centres survive and thrive in a time of great uncertainty; this collaborative approach to heritage-led regeneration allows everyone to play a role in shaping the future of our historic town centres, particularly in light of the pending national Town Centres First (TCF) Policy, which the CTCHC Programme has been calling for since 2019.”

The RED C survey, which was undertaken using a questionnaire designed by the CTCHC Project Partners, focuses on key indicators of the overall health of Tipperary Town Centre including:

  • Tipperary Town Visitor Attitudes and Ratings;
  • Tipperary Town Centre usage and consumer impressions;
  • Consumer behaviour in relation to Tipperary Town;
  • Opinions on Public events and developments; and
  • Cycling, parking and transport.The consumer survey (December 2021) is also part of the much wider regeneration initiative of the Tipperary Town Centre Health Check (CTCHC) Project Team with a planned in-depth Tipperary Town CTCHC Summary Report, bringing together the results of all the land use, footfall, consumer and business sector surveys that have been undertaken over the last six months or so, that will be launched by Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform in January 2022.The Heritage Council and partners’ Tipperary Town Consumer Survey 2021 showed that:
    • Consumers are most likely to visit the town centre for shopping citing supermarkets and chemists as their most popular destination;
    • Poor traffic (68%) and lack of investment (57%) are what people most associate with the historic town – derelict buildings is also a key dislike;
    • Almost 8 in 10 people believe their online clothes shopping has increased as a consequence of Covid-19 – Amazon is by far the most popular on-line site used by consumers;
    • Clothes shops for young people is the most sought-after retail in the town – consumers also wish to see more independents;
    • 5 in 10 people would avail of a ‘Click and Collect’ service if it was available;
    • The people and the friendliness of the people are key attributes of Tipperary Town;
    • 62% of visitors would attend public events in the town centre, e.g. Christmas markets,food festivals, etc;
    • 74% and 73% of people surveyed thought the provision of cycling lanes and cycleparking in the town was poor;
    • 74% felt that getting around the town centre was poor/very poor; and
    • The recent redevelopment of the Market Yard and Kickham Place are playing a role inencouraging people to visit the town centre.In January 2020, following a request to the Heritage Council from the Department of Housing, Tipperary Town formally joined the innovative CTCHC Programme. However, on the ground and face- to-face surveys were delayed during 2020 due to Covid-19 lockdown. Instead during 2020, the Heritage Council’s CTCHC Programme Manager – Ali Harvey – prepared a Heritage Action Plan for the historic town based on collaborative workshops held in January-March 2020. Tipperary Town Heritage Action Plan 2020-2022: the first heritage action plan for a town in Ireland – is being funded by Tipperary LEADER, Heritage Council, Tipperary County Council and others. See here for Tipperary Town Heritage Action Plan 2020-20221.1 

Councillor Annemarie Ryan welcomed the important CTCHC baseline consumer survey report highlighting: “the delivery of the CTCHC Programme and the CTCHC Project in Tipperary Town supports and enables heritage-led regeneration of this special place, which has layers upon layers of history and heritage in its streets, laneways and buildings. The creation of a 15-Step CTCHC baseline including the consumer survey, enables a bottom-up approach – one that nurtures local participation and engagement, and which values and celebrates a place’s unique built, cultural and natural heritage.

Welcoming the Tipperary Town Centre Health Check (CTCHC) Consumer Survey Report 2021, Tipperary Taskforce Project Manager Michael Begley said the report is a positive and constructive basis on which Tipperary Town Centre can be further enhanced and promoted. “The CTCHC consumer survey results give us a great insight into the perception that people have of our town centre and highlights, yet again, the need for action in areas such as tackling vacancy and dereliction, development of festivals and events to drive footfall and the promotion of ecommerce opportunities among traders. These are areas that we intend to focus on keenly going forward, and this data is priceless in terms of planning programmes and activities that can have a really, positive impact for everybody with a stake in the town, businesses, consumers and visitors.” he said.

Rita Fenton, Chairperson of Tipperary Town Chamber stated, “On behalf of Tipperary Town Chamber, I’m delighted to welcome this report and to have been involved in its production. Much of the information contained in this report was known to us anecdotally, but having the facts and figures audited and presented in this manner is extremely important. It is great to see that so many people choose Tipperary Town as their chief shopping destination and are satisfied with the variety, service and value offered. The friendliness and welcome in the town are much valued by the shoppers and visitors. The results show that there is a great business opportunity for an enterprising person to open a clothing store catering for young people in the centre of the town. As the traffic and lack of parking are again highlighted as real problems for shoppers and visitors to our town centre, we must redouble our efforts to accelerate work on a Bypass for the Town. All in all, the report shows positive feedback from the people interviewed and areas for opportunity, so its onwards and upwards for Tipperary Town!

Tipperary Town Centre – Consumer Survey methodology:

The Heritage Council in collaboration with Tipperary Taskforce, Tipperary Town Chamber and Tipperary County Council designed a survey questionnaire and then put out a tender call for the fieldwork to be undertake and the results to be analysed and presented. Red C was commissioned by the project partners in September 2021 to collect survey data from consumers using face to face and online surveys. In total, 168 no. face to face surveys were undertaken plus another 50 no. surveys online.

Members of the public were asked about their opinions of Tipperary Town Centre, what activities they undertake in the historic town centre, their suggestions for the future of the county town, and what environmental improvements they would like to see implemented.