The Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Ministers Eamon Ryan and Darragh O’Brien announced details on the 11th July of a €150 million fund which will be allocated to tackle long-term vacancy and dereliction in towns and cities across Ireland. Waterford City and County Council have received a €9M allocation. This was one of the highest allocations, second only to Dublin City Council, in the country.
Announced as part of the quarterly Housing for All progress update, the funding will be available to local authorities for towns and cities eligible for the Urban Regeneration Development Fund (URDF). Within County Waterford the URDF centres are Waterford City, Dungarvan and Tramore.
The allocation of funding received follows the comprehensive submission by the Council where it identified suitable projects to increase the housing stock within the Metropolitan Area and Dungarvan. The Council will receive a grant for the entire 100% cost of acquiring suitable long term vacant and derelict properties or sites identified within the Counties URDF Settlements.
Michael Walsh, the CEO of Waterford City and County Council said: “I am delighted with our allocation of €9M to tackle long term vacancy and dereliction in Waterford. This will transform our key settlements and promote vibrant communities in Waterford City, Dungarvan and Tramore.”
Kieran Kehoe, Director of Service with responsibility for Planning, Corporate, Culture, HR & IS in Waterford City and County Council said: “This level of funding reflects the high priority that the Government has placed on boosting accommodation and tackling dereliction both nationally and within County Waterford. It also complements several existing schemes which the Council already have in place to tackle vacancy and dereliction. Through this fund we will increase the pace at which vacant and derelict buildings are brought back into productive use as new homes for people.”
The CPO Activation Programme was launched by the Government in April of this year and will work in conjunction with URDF Call 3 to tackle long term vacancy and dereliction. The Programme will provide for a planned, systematic and proactive approach by local authorities to bringing vacant and derelict properties into use.
To deliver on the above the Council’s Planning and Housing Department are currently offering several supports, which are listed below, to address long term dereliction and vacancy within its administrative area. These initiatives are in support of one of the key pillars under Housing for All - ‘Pathway to Addressing Vacancy and Efficient Use of Existing Stock’. It is also central to Town Centre First policy.
- Croí Cónaithe Scheme supports individuals to bring back vacant and derelict properties into private residential use.
- Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant is a grant scheme that you can avail of if you are refurbishing a vacant house or building into your permanent home or to rent.
- Repair and Leasing Scheme is targeted at owners of vacant properties who cannot afford or who do not have access to the funding required to bring those properties up to the standard for rental property. The property must be made available for social housing for 5 - 25 years.
- Buy and Renew Scheme is where the Council will buy suitable vacant properties in need of repair from property owners and make them available for social housing.
- Selling Your Property is where the Council can purchase housing units for sale on the private market consider properties that are currently derelict or vacant for two years (properties must be vacant before same is offered for sale or lease).
- Compulsory Acquisitions is where the Council may acquire a derelict property through Compulsory Acquisition using the Derelict Sites Act.
- Economic Department offer supports to new businesses filling vacant properties and grants for the visual improvement
- Built Heritage Grant assist with the conservation and restoration of heritage properties through the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and Historic Structures Fund.
In addition to the supports listed above the Council has set up a dedicated team to reactivate long term vacancy / derelict properties for residential purposes through Compulsory Acquisition and resale on the open market. The team will be supported by the Vacant Homes Officer (VHO). Vacancy and dereliction not only affects housing supply but also vibrancy and vitality and the ability of people to live in our cities, towns and villages.
The URDF Call 3 fund will help restore and transform the urban heart of many of our communities. It is envisaged that it will provide more homes for people in sustainable locations, allowing them to live close to local services, amenities and employment. Making use of our existing stock in a more efficient way makes clear environmental sense.
For further information on the fund and derelict sites, please contact: