The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) is a flagship element of Project Ireland 2040. Under the stewardship of my Department, the Fund was established to support more compact and sustainable development, through the regeneration and rejuvenation of Ireland’s five cities and other large towns, in line with the objectives of the National Planning Framework and NDP. This is to enable a greater proportion of residential and mixed-use development to be delivered within the existing built-up footprints of our cities and towns and to ensure that more parts of our urban areas can become attractive and vibrant places in which people choose to live and work, as well as to invest and to visit.
€58 million is available to meet the funding requirements of approved URDF supported projects in 2019, and there is an Exchequer commitment of €550 million for the Fund to support these and other similar projects up to the end of 2022. The URDF has an allocation of €2 billion in the National Development Plan (NDP) to 2027.
As part of the first call for proposals under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) Waterford City and County Council submitted a bid for exchequer grant funding in respect of a major multifaceted project for the North Quays, Waterford, an area that the Government has designated a Strategic Development Zone.
It is intended that the largely transport focussed infrastructural works involved will open up the North Quays site, make it more accessible, and ultimately support the achievement of the broader objectives of the SDZ planning scheme.
On 26 November 2018, I announced initial URDF support of €100m for a total of 88 projects across the country, including €6m of initial support for the Waterford North Quays Project. Furthermore, in June this year I agreed to ring-fence URDF support of €30m in respect of the advancement of the overall North Quays Project, pending further clarification of the project detail.
This is a very important, complex, and high value project in a strategic development zone, and so it is critical that very careful consideration is given to its planning and development, and also in order to establish the correct combination of supports required to facilitate its successful advancement and completion. At this stage the project composition, costs, sequencing, and requisite supports must be further clarified so that the appropriate level of ‘whole project’ URDF support can be established.
While the advancement of the North Quays Project is, in the first instance, a matter for Waterford City and County Council my Department is continuing to engage with the local authority to assist further progress on the development of this important project.