Today, I am launching the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund for 2022.
With €8m in funding across both schemes - an increase of €2 million from 2021 - they represent a continued and significant boost to the preservation of Ireland’s built heritage. It is expected the schemes will support hundreds of projects while also creating over 44,000 days of employment.
All around the country, communities are repurposing historic buildings to create livable, low carbon and resilient town centres. I’m delighted to be able to support this heritage-led regeneration by significantly increasing funding for both the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund to a total of €8 million in 2022. The increase underlines this Government’s continued commitment to the protection and preservation of our built heritage, benefitting hundreds of historic structures, keeping traditional building skills alive, and creating employment for skilled conservation workers.
The Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund support the owners and custodians of protected structures and those in Architectural Conservation Areas to meet their obligations to care for their properties.
Administered in conjunction with Local Authority Architectural Conservation Officers, Heritage Officers, and planning and administrative staff, both schemes will assist hundreds of small-scale, labour-intensive projects as well as larger-scale projects to repair and conserve our historic built environment. The projects will also give significant support to local jobs in conservation, traditional skills, and construction, providing a vital boost to local economies during challenging times. In addition, these schemes can unlock the potential to utilise heritage building stock and return it to residential use – an outcome which will be key to Housing for All, the Government’s far-reaching plan to create a sustainable housing system into the future.
Following on from the successful introduction of two pilot streams for vernacular structures and English and Irish-language historic shopfronts in 2021, both streams have been incorporated into Historic Structures Fund (HSF) 2022. The Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) maintenance stream from 2020 has also been retained for the scheme this year.
In 2021, over 550 projects were awarded funding under the two schemes, ranging from minor but essential repairs of rainwater goods to large-scale roof repairs.
One such project is the restoration of the shopfront of Tynan’s Bridge House Bar in Kilkenny, where this year’s funding announcement was made. An award of €15,000 from the Historic Structures Fund, along with investment by the owner, is helping to save the shopfront from decay and to restore some of the classic detailing which has been lost over the years. Works include timber repairs, stained glass repairs, and reinstating missing cast iron crest grills over the shopfront. The preservation of Tynan’s distinctive character helps preserve its historic identity and brings wider benefits to John’s Bridge and Kilkenny City.
The funding announced today includes a total of €4 million for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme - an increase of 33% from last year’s scheme - and €4 million for the Historic Structures Fund - which is also an increase of 33% from HSF 2021.
- Owners are invited to make an application through their Local Authority, which must in turn be submitted to the Department by 11 February 2022.
- Partnership projects by state-funded organisations should submit applications directly to the Department.
- Details of the schemes and how to apply are available on all local authority websites and the Department’s website www.housing.gov.ie