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.
In October 2018, my Department launched a Town Centre Living Initiative to explore in a holistic way how to encourage increased residential occupancy in rural towns and villages. The pilot focused on 6 towns with different characteristics in different parts of the country.
An independent report on the pilot Town Centre Living Initiative was published on 22nd June 2020. The report outlines the approach taken by each town under the pilot and sets out the key issues identified to encourage increased town centre living and the repurposing of vacant properties for residential purposes.
The report, which is available on the Gov.ie website, highlights the multiplicity of factors that need to be addressed which cut across a number of Government Departments and agencies.
It also highlights the importance of Local Authorities consulting with local communities and property owners on town centre development proposals and the value of developing a shared vision or master plan for the town.
Programmes such as the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and can provide funding for projects which emerge from this process, subject to meeting the required criteria and the quality of the proposals.
In this context, my Department is examining how the Town and Village Renewal Scheme can be further focused to support town centre living in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government.