Grants of up to €7,500 (ex VAT) are now available under the Conservation Advice Grant Scheme for Vacant Traditional Farmhouses, writes Catherina Cunnane.
The Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage is introducing the new pilot scheme to provide grants for expert conservation advice to owners of vacant farmhouses in private ownership who are availing of and/or considering the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant.
The grant will cover the cost of having a conservation expert with proven and appropriate expertise visit a property, conduct a survey, and compile tailored conservation advice for the property owner.
This expert advice will include a report which outlines the condition of a building and suggests conservation repairs and improvements which would improve the building and enhance its character, energy efficiency, integrity, and amenity.
Traditional (also known as ‘vernacular’) farmhouses are a “key” part of our rural landscape and shared heritage, according to the department.
Sometimes described as ‘cottages’, these buildings generally comprise old houses constructed using traditional techniques and locally available materials such as thatch, stone, slate, earth, wattle, and timber.
Later on, corrugated iron, despite its imported, industrial origin, was also used.
The new scheme will provide access to assistance for vernacular farmhouse owners considering availing of the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, which provides funding under the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund for the refurbishment of vacant and derelict homes in both rural and urban areas or properties that have previously not been in residential use.
It can be utilised in conjunction with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) grants to help improve the energy efficiency of a home provided works are eligible.
Previously, we reported, in this news article, that Claire Kerrane of Sinn Féin said that “too many derelict homes in rural villages are locked out of the government’s new home ownership-focused Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund”.
Farmhouse buildings to become homes
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD said:
“Traditional farmhouse buildings present unique challenges when it comes to refurbishment, and this new pilot scheme will help remove some of these obstacles by allowing owners to obtain the expert advice needed to restore these structures and bring them back into use.”
“These traditional farmhouse buildings have the potential to become homes, and this scheme can help make that happen.”
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD added that the pilot scheme “will provide an additional source of support to help bring more vacant properties back into use”.
“It will do so in a way that respects our national heritage by allowing owners to get the expert advice needed to breathe new life into these traditional buildings, which form such a distinctive part of our rural landscape.”
Those interested in availing of the scheme can apply through the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s website.