Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Revitalising Town Centres

I bet our mayor is spitting chips. The government has just announced a plan to revitalise the centres of more than 200 medium sized provincial towns. They are offering generous funding so the locals don't have to contribute, and have even stolen our mayor's name for his project to improve the centre of Preuilly.

In fact, Preuilly wouldn't have qualified for this new programme. It's for towns with populations between thirty and fifty thousand.  Twenty-three percent of the population live in such towns and twenty-six percent work in them. Many of these towns struggle with social problems and lack of resources to maintain their attractiveness.

Central Chatellerault.

To help these towns a fund of 5 billion euros will be rolled out over 5 years, available for 222 towns.

The mayors of these towns will produce plans in partnership with public and private local enterprises. Known as 'Coeur de ville' ('town heart') the project can take different forms.

The historic centre of Poitiers.

The first is to improve the energy ratings of dwellings in the centre of town. 1.2 billion will be available to adapt the built heritage in these town centres so they are more energy efficient.


The second is to use 1.5 billion euros to build new dwellings in town centres as well as develop education, cultural and transport options to improve quality of life.

Finally, there is support for businesses wishing to establish themselves in the centre of town. This is seen as key to the vitality of these places. One way of doing that is to assist businesses to develop their online presence.  The rules will be relaxed and businesses who wish to set up in town will no longer have to apply for permission from the préfecture (shire offices).

A classic car event in Blois.

Around us the towns who will benefit include Chateauroux, Chinon, Issoudun, Blois, Bourges, Chatellerault, Limoges and Poitiers.

The project is seen as a successor to the previous programme to improve internet access for everyone and eliminate the 'dead zones'. The government has come to an agreement with the telecomms companies to resolve the issue and end patchy internet connections. They recognise that three out of four job seekers use the internet.

Old and new in Bourges.


chm said...

Internet commerce and grandes surfaces in the outskirts have killed many town centers.

Susan said...

Yes, one of the reasons Preuilly refused permission for a supermarket on the edge of town more than a decade ago. Unfortunately all that happened is that everyone drives to the next town and does their shopping in the supermarket on the edge of town there. Me included. The new project is going to provide resources for setting up online commerce.

Unknown said...

I see the nuclear power station's plume of vapour is highly visible in the Chinon photo!

Aussie in France said...

That was very informative. Thank you Susan. I wonder what they’ll be doing in Blois.

Ken Broadhurst said...

If this project is for towns with populations between 30K and 50K, I don't see how Chinon (too small) or Bourges (too large) would qualify.

Susan said...

Good point. Here is the official website for the project, which doesn't specify a town size. Bourges and Chinon are definately on the list. I got the info originally either from the Nouvelle République or En Marche. But I can't find either email/article now. I wonder if the official definition of a 'medium sized town' is 30-50K population and a journalist included the info without checking if it was actually a criteria. Wherever I read it I obviously did the same. I did wonder why Loches missed out then realised it was too small based on the info I had, but didn't then think 'oh, but Chinon would be too small too...' I dread to think what the awful mayor of Chinon is going to do with the money once he gets his hands on it. Multistorey carpark project in the middle of town here we come again...

Susan said...

We often photograph Chinon like that. I like the juxtaposition. You'll see the plume in the background of one of the photos in today's post too.

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