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Matthews Vacancy and Dereliction legislation will support €2.5 Million Wicklow fund

Green TD Steven Matthews’ legislation on vacancy, dereliction and regeneration going through the Dáil this week is well timed to support a large funding allocation of €2.5 million to Wicklow County Council under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF). Deputy Matthews’ Bill will tighten up the Derelicts Site Act and make the regulatory process to refurbish an old building cheaper and easier while still maintaining high standards in renovation.

Under the Urban Regeneration & Development Fund, (URDF) the Council has identified vacant sites and derelict buildings that could be purchased, refurbished, and repurposed to bring back to use for residential or community use or for reselling to fund further investment.

‘I am delighted with the timing of this fund and my legislation,’ said Matthews ‘one of the keys to providing housing is the re-use of existing buildings to put quality homes in our town centres in unused empty buildings, over shops or in vacant homes that need refurbishment.'

‘Wicklow County Council received this allocation based on the size and number of towns in Wicklow and the level of vacancy and dereliction within the functional area. This sizable fund to Wicklow will now assist the council to actively pursue vacancy buildings to bring back to use. This funding is as a dedicated revolving fund within each local authority to address the financial barrier and risk faced by local authorities in seeking to tackle long term vacant and derelict buildings and sites across Wicklow towns.’

The fund will be available to cover the acquisition costs of a property or site and any civil or design works which may be required to de-risk or improve the site/building to make it more attractive for reuse, development by others or for onward sale. The intention is that the fund would be replenished from the proceeds received from the end use/user, thereby allowing the local authority to put in place a rolling programme to tackle long term vacancy and dereliction without recourse to borrowing and the associated financial risk.

‘There is already existing personal grant funding options of up to €70,000 if you want to do up a derelict building for a home, a Vacant Homes Officer in every Council to manage vacancy and dereliction, we have introduced a Vacant Homes Tax, mandated local authorities to CPO buildings and increased the value of the Repair and Lease Scheme.’

‘These initiatives are a vital part of our action to provide homes, bring life and living back to our towns and villages, to ensure local services remain viable; support new local business and to ensure public open spaces are attractive for pedestrians, cyclists, children and for wider community use', concluded Deputy Matthews.



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