Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
Town and Village Renewal Scheme
80. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the Programme for Government commitment for an expanded town and village renewal scheme to bring vacant and derelict buildings back into use and promote residential occupancy; when communities can start applying for this funding; and the estimated amount available to each local authority. [43579/20]
The Programme for Government includes a commitment for an expanded Town and Village Renewal Scheme to bring vacant and derelict buildings back into use and promote residential occupancy. This follows on from the pilot initiative overseen by my Department in 2019 to explore how to encourage increased residential occupancy in rural towns and villages.
An independent report on the pilot initiative highlighted the value of developing a shared vision, or masterplan, for individual towns as part of the process to counteract vacancy and dereliction, and to make these town centres more attractive places in which to live.
I have secured an additional €2 million in Budget 2021 as part of the expanded Town and Village Renewal Scheme to support the preparation of masterplans that will provide a vision for the strategic development of rural towns and villages. I anticipate that individual plans will include actions tailored to address the vacancy and town centre living issues that are specific to the town in question. This initiative will be progressed in 2021 and further details will be announced at that time.
This action is one element of the Government’s approach to addressing the issue of vacancy and dereliction as part of a new Town Centre First approach to the regeneration of our towns and villages. An Inter-Departmental Group has been established to progress the Town Centre First approach. It will also review other suggested actions in the report on the pilot Town Centre Living initiative.
The Inter-Departmental Group is chaired jointly by my Department and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The Group aims to bring forward with proposals for consideration by the Government in the middle of next year.