Waterford Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has welcomed this morning’s announcement of €9 million to further tackle Vacancy & Dereliction across Waterford. The announcement is part of a €130 million allocation to Local Authorities nationally.
Welcoming the announcement Senator Cummins stated: “I’m delighted that Waterford has received one of the highest allocations in the country to further tackle vacancy and dereliction across the county. Transforming existing buildings back into housing stock not only boosts our housing supply but it has the dual benefit of removing eye sores from our cities, towns and villages which brings life back into our urban settings”.
Senator Cummins continued: “Tackling vacancy and dereliction has remained a high priority of mine since my election to Seanad Eireann and prior to this in my role as a councillor. While Waterford has done better than most in terms of utilising government schemes like the Repair and Lease, Buy and Renew, CPO’s and the new exemptions for commercial to residential exemptions, it is clear we have more work to do. This funding will therefore be of significant assistance to Waterford City and County Council in continuing its work in this space”.
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). Local authorities, when applying for the funding, have indicated that they could identify projects generating 4,850 residential units. Local authorities will receive a grant for the entire 100% cost of acquiring suitable properties identified within their communities, reflecting the high priority the Government has placed on boosting accommodation and tackling dereliction It complements several existing schemes to tackle vacancy and dereliction.
Senator Cummins said “Waterford have clearly pitched high as part of this third URDF call and I wish them well in meeting the targets which they have set down. They have clearly demonstrated an ability to deliver across the various streams and I have confidence this won’t be any different. The most sustainable home to create is the one that already exists, therefore we must all continue to do everything we can to restore and refurbish the stock of buildings that exist across the country”.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD added: “Today we are announcing a €150m revolving fund to specifically tackle long term vacancy and dereliction within towns and cities. This fund will help restore the urban heart of many of our communities, provide more homes where people can live close to local services, amenities and employment and, indeed, has the potential to be truly transformative.
This Government has consistently said we will use every tool in our armory to get to grips with our housing challenges and that is exactly what we are doing. 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."
Senator Cummins concluded by saying “I look forward to seeing this money put to very good use. If anyone knows of a vacant and derelict properties that they think the council has missed or should be examined, please don’t hesitate to log it on www.vacanthomes.ie or make contact with my offices in Waterford City or Dungarvan.”