29 Sept 2022

New grant scheme could breathe new life into vacant properties in Offaly

New grant scheme could breathe new life into vacant properties in Offaly

Grants to be made available to refurbish vacant and derelict buildings

Vacant and derelict properties in towns and villages across Offaly are often a blight on the streetscape.

They have been the subject of endless debates at council level. Sometimes they are even mentioned in Tidy Town's adjudications

For example in the 2021 Tidy Towns report the adjudicators said about Tullamore, ''The physical remnants of previous downturns, sites and/ buildings, & their idleness present a significant headache for many towns & villages.''

However, grants which could breathe new life into some of the large number of vacant and derelict properties in Offaly are to be made available.

The Croí Conaithe Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant has recently been announced by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

The Croí Cónaithe grant, is to be delivered by local authorities and will provide new choices for people to live in towns and villages in Offaly initially through the provision of a grant to support the refurbishment of vacant properties, with priority given to areas where the level of vacancy or dereliction is high.

The grant is for properties located in a town or village centre. There is a maximum grant of €30,000 inclusive of vat to refurbish a vacant property. There is also a maximum top up grant of €20,000, if the property is derelict and structurally unsound and dangerous. This will have to be confirmed by a quantity surveyor or engineer.

The building must have been vacant for two years and built before 1993, confirmation of vacancy must be confirmed. People availing of the grant must live in the property when the work is completed and will have to provide proof of residence.

Also a person who is actively negotiating to buy a property that falls within the remit of the scheme can apply.

Speaking recently Offaly County Councillor Mark Hackett said:''At least 90,000 vacant homes are left idle across this country at a time when we have a housing crisis. Neglected and derelict buildings are spoiling our town centres when they could be turned into homes,'' he said.

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