Derelict building in Manorhamilton
A new fund for Croí Córnaithe (towns) is set to revitalise and bring life back into Leitrim towns and villages by funding the renovation of vacant and derelict buildings.
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien T.D., together with the Taoiseach Micheál Martin, launched the €50m fund last week. Many areas of towns and villages face the blight of vacant properties, which, if brought back into use, could add real vibrancy to towns of all sizes across county Leitrim.
The Scheme is set to benefit those who wish to turn a formerly vacant house or building into their principal private residence and become part of the community in the area, furthering the aim to create town centres that function as viable, vibrant and attractive locations for people to live, work and visit, while also functioning as the service, social, cultural and recreational hub for the local community.
The fund will be delivered through local authorities who will provide a grant to support the refurbishment of vacant properties, with priority given to applications in areas where the level of vacancy or dereliction is high.
A grant of up to €30,000 will be available for the refurbishment of vacant properties for occupation as a principal private residence, including the conversion of a property which has not been used as a home before now. Where a property is derelict, a maximum top-up grant amount of up to €20,000 will be available, bringing the total grant available for a derelict property up to a maximum of €50,000.
This can also be combined with the SEAI Better Energy Home Scheme that covers works of up to €26,750.
Carrigallen Cllr Paddy O'Rourke welcomed the new grants for the refurbishment of vacant and derelict residential properties, having campaigned for some time to have such a grant introduced.
O'Rourke is pleased that the minister has acknowledged the part older houses can play in providing comfortable homes for families and these grants in excess of €50,000 per unit will greatly assist families bring many older properties (many which have been vacant for a number of years) back to life and “at a cost that would be more affordable than new builds particularly here in Leitrim where we are experiencing difficulty in obtaining planning permission for one off houses.”
Announcing the new initiative, Taoiseach Micheál Martin emphasised: “We know there is a great appetite across the towns and villages of Leitrim to bring vacant properties back into use for home ownership and this scheme will provide the ability to turn many of those opportunities into reality.
“This initiative is among the suite of measures in Housing for All which are designed to ensure that everyone has access to good quality housing as well as seeking to strengthen and diversify rural towns and villages to be a focus for local housing and employment growth.”
Minister Darragh O’Brien TD added that the new fund will also be complemented by the upcoming Vacant Property Tax as well as the changes to planning laws that facilitate the conversion of properties into residential use. More information and the application forms are available from the Vacant Homes Officer in Leitrim County Council.
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