An urban regeneration scheme aimed at renovating old properties in Waterford and five other cities will finally get off the ground in the coming weeks.
When the Living City Initiative was first announced over two years ago it was restricted to Georgian era buildings. But after consulting with local authority officials and Waterford Civic Trust, Deputy John Deasy lobbied to have it modified to include all pre-1914 properties.
“This has been a tortuous process, with the scheme held up by the European Commission. Getting State Aid clearance has required some minor changes but generally speaking the concept is pretty much intact.”
He expects Finance Minister Michael Noonan to sign the commencement order next month. Waterford City and County Council submitted its recommended designated areas some time ago and these have been weighed up by the Department and Revenue.
The residential element of the scheme, which is expected to have a much bigger take-up in Waterford, will allow eligible home owners to claim reliefs for the entire cost of refurbishment works, spread against income over 10 years.
Meanwhile, commercial owner-occupiers will be able to claim tax reliefs (capped at €200,000) for refurbishment works on business premises, written off over a seven-year period.
Depending on the final designation, it’s understood that a significant number of residential properties in Waterford could qualify.
Deputy Deasy says the fact that this scheme will also operate in Cork and Kilkenny means it has the potential to create substantial work for local tradespeople in the construction/conservation sector.
“If the take-up is anywhere as good as the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme, which only meant reclaiming the VAT back, then it should be a useful initiative.”