The pilot grant scheme to encourage people to move to a rural town will be launched this year, the Department of Rural Affairs told Selfbuild.

The Town and Village Renewal Scheme scheme was granted €15 million under Budget 2018 and it is expected to be launched “in the first half of the year”. The scheme was originally due to be rolled out in the third quarter of 2017.

However the pilot scheme to encourage residential occupancy in rural towns and villages is still at the early stage of development as Minister for Rural Affairs Michael Ring has just now established a Steering Group to “accelerate and oversee the design and delivery of the pilot scheme”, with the first meeting of the Steering Group to “take place shortly”, the Department told Selfbuild.

The Steering Group is chaired by the Department of Rural And Community Development and involves a number of other key departments and agencies including the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

In January 2017, the Minister for Rural Affairs at the time, Minister Humphreys had indicated the subsidy to refurbish disused buildings in rural towns could amount to €20,000, a figure the Department of Rural Affairs has since not been able to confirm.

 

Update 05/07/2018: The Department told SelfBuild “it is hoped that an announcement will be made before the end of the summer.”

Update 11/10/2018: Individual homeowners will not be eligible to apply for funding to do up their homes, the Department of Rural and Community Development told SelfBuild after announcing the details of the rural pilot scheme today (11th October 2018). Six rural towns have been invited to develop innovative proposals to encourage more people to live in rural town centres, each of the towns must come up with proposals which will be assessed by mid-2019, at which point a full application can be made by the local authority to get a slice of the €1 billion rural regeneration fund. These funds are to be allocated by the local authorities for initiatives that will regenerate town centres, including projects as varied as walkways and digital hubs.