2020 Conservation Grants Announced + New Pilot Scheme for Routine Maintenance - Sunni L Goodson


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2020 Conservation Grants Announced + New Pilot Scheme for Routine Maintenance

November 17, 2019

Minister Madigan has just announced two schemes to be run in 2020 that will enable the conservation, repair and refurbishment of Ireland’s historic structures: The Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund. Together, these two schemes will offer over €4.3 million in conservation grant funding, and will generate a further €5 million in private investment. Both schemes typically cover repairs and works to the external envelope of historic buildings (roof, walls, windows, etc.), as well as internal structural works, temporary enabling works, and the repair of significant decorative elements such as joinery, plasterwork, and other features.

The Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) will provide €2.5 million for essential repairs and for the conservation of Protected Structures or Proposed Protected Structures, and in exceptional circumstances, buildings within Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs) or within the amenity of a National Monument. Funding will range from €2,500 to €15,000 per project, and successful applicants are required to demonstrate at least a 50-50 matching expenditure.

Pilot Scheme for Routine Maintenance and repair works

In 2020 the Department is piloting a “micro grant scheme” for works of routine maintenance and minor repairs, which were not previously eligible for funding under the BHIS scheme. The maximum award for any such project(s) will be €2,500 for each project. If successful, this scheme may be run on nationally on an annual basis thereafter.

The Historic Structures Fund (HSF) will provide more than €1.8 million for projects of a larger scale. The intention of the scheme is to:

  • enable larger scale conservation works to be carried out on heritage structures which are deemed to be significant and in need of urgent support;
  • encourage the regeneration and reuse of heritage properties and to help to secure the preservation of protected structures and/or historic-culturally significant assets;
  • support the investment of private capital in labour-intensive projects to conserve historic structures in public and private ownership for community use.

Within the HSF there are two streams:

  1. Stream 1 will provide funding of between €15,000 and €50,000 per project for essential repairs and smaller capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of heritage structures. Applicants will be glad to hear that this stream may fund up to 80% of the project budget.
  2. Stream 2 will provide funding of between €50,000 and €200,000 for larger enhancement, refurbishment or reuse projects involving heritage structures, where a clear community or public benefit can be demonstrated. In exceptional circumstances, the grant funding may cover up to 80% of the project budget, though matching funding is standard protocol. In a drastic departure from previous schemes, Stream 2 may be phased over two calendar years, rather than the usual deadline in October of the same year as the application.

Structures eligible under the HSF are the same as those eligible for coverage under the BHIS scheme. Unlike in past years, only one application can be made per structure across all grant schemes, so doubling-up is no longer possible. Furthermore, as per usual all statutory requirements (i.e., planning permission, Section 5 applications, Ministerial Notification, etc.) must be complete by the time of works commencement, and the grants will not fund any works that have begun prior to being awarded funding. Competition for the HSF will be considerable, but successful applications will be eligible for greater levels of funding.

With only one application allowed per property, the onus is on your heritage consultant to understand the various merits, requirements, constraints and possibilities within each scheme, the statutory consents that your project requires as well as the applicable timetables for same, and the possible budget for your proposed scope of work, in order to make the most of your conservation grant application. Be advised that applications are due no later than 31st January 2020, with some local authorities having set the deadline at 24th January 2020. It takes some time to collate a strong application, and next year there is a significant pot of funding to be distributed. If you have a project in mind that you would like to discuss, get in touch today!

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