Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage recently announced two funding schemes for Protected Structures and historic buildings: the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) 2024 and the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) 2024.
Since 2016, Waterford City and County has been allocated €1.4 million for conservation projects under these schemes. So far this has supported 137 projects, provided over 10,000 days of employment and has generated a spend of €3 million. These figures do not include the non-conservation element of projects which generated additional employment and spend. The projects ranged in scope from essential repairs of rainwater goods, walls, windows, thatch roofs, stained glass, to large-scale repairs of buildings.
The Department notes that the quality of our historic built environment can have a profound effect on how we live. It contributes to the vitality of our cities, towns, villages and countryside, instils a sense of pride of place, and enhances the quality of our everyday lives.
The historic built environment makes a significant contribution to economic prosperity by attracting investment, providing direct and indirect employment, as well as sustaining a traditional skills base for wider application. Our built heritage is one of the main attractions for visitors to Ireland, so its conservation also reinforces and promotes our tourism industry as well as contributing to the regeneration of urban and rural areas.
Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) 2024
The BHIS scheme seeks to leverage private capital for investment in small-scale, labour-intensive projects and to support the employment of skilled and experienced conservation professionals, craftspeople and tradespersons in the repair of Protected Structures and in certain cases, the conservation of structures within Architectural Conservation Areas (ACA). Funding awards made under the scheme will be between €2,500 and €15,000, with applicants matching in full the grants being awarded. In relation to projects funded within an ACA, the maximum amount is €10,000 per individual project.
The Historic Structures Fund (HSF) 2024
Funding for the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) is being made available as part of Project Ireland 2040. Total funding available nationally under the Historic Structures fund in 2024 will be €4 million.
Stream 1 will offer grants from €15,000 up to €50,000 and is aimed at essential repairs and smaller capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of heritage structures.
Stream 1, Historic Shopfronts sub-stream – To incentivise the conservation of historic shopfronts, each Local Authority is invited to submit an additional application under Stream 1 for eligible essential repairs and small capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of historic shop facades, windows, signage and other associated details to safeguard them and keep them in use. Local Authorities are also invited to make an additional application for Irish-language shopfronts.
Stream 2 will offer a small number of grants from €50,000 up to €200,000 for larger enhancement, refurbishment or reuse projects involving heritage structures, where a clear community or public benefit has been demonstrated, or a clear residential benefit has been demonstrated (such projects must be advanced through the planning process as necessary)
A grant of over €200,000 may be awarded in exceptional circumstances where a case is made by the applicant in relation to the significance of the project and the works proposed.
Vernacular Structures Stream – In the context of A Living Tradition: A Strategy to Enhance the Understanding, Minding and Handing on of Our Built Vernacular Heritage (2021), the stream for vernacular structures is being retained for 2024, with funding of €150,000. The purpose of the stream is to support conservation repairs and small capital works to vernacular structures that are not listed in local authority Records of Protected Structures or otherwise legally protected. Such structures may be located within an Architectural Conservation Area.
These schemes will be administered by Waterford City and County Council. The criteria with a complete list of qualifying works, the application forms and checklist, and the guidance notes for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme 2024 and Historic Structures Fund 2024 are now available on https://www.waterfordcouncil.ie/media/grants/index.htm
Completed application forms and photos of the structures to be submitted by email only to Planning@waterfordcouncil.ie by 5pm, January 19th, 2024. Only applications received by this date will be considered. Please ensure that the grant scheme name is in the subject line and note that all forms must be completed in full, in order to be processed. Successful applicants must have the works completed by September 27th 2024.
For further information about the schemes or to submit the application form please contact: Rosemary Ryall, Executive Conservation Officer, Waterford City and County Council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org