Cork councillor welcomes expansion of Ready to Build scheme into rural areas as ‘step in the right direction’

It is estimated their could be more than 9,000 vacant and derelict properties dotted across County Cork.

Bill BrowneCorkman

The expansion of a scheme offering financial help to people seeking to purchase and renovate vacant buildings into homes in rural areas has been welcomed by a Duhallow-based Cork county councillor.

Under the revised ‘Ready To Build’ scheme, funded through the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) initiative, both Cork County and City Council’s will now also be able to make buildings and serviced sites in rural areas available to buy at discounted rates.

Previously, the scheme was only available to buildings situated within the boundaries of towns and villages and not for vacant structures or serviced sites in more rural locations.

Under the revised scheme, both vacant buildings and serviced sites (those with necessary infrastructure such as electricity, water and wastewater), will now be made available to people to purchase at discounted rates for use as a ‘principal private residence’.

The vacant buildings and sites will be sold at a discounted rate of up to €30,000 from the market value, with the discount determined by the cost of servicing them.

Announcing the initiative Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said Government realised there was a great appetite for people to build their own homes in towns, villages and rural areas.

“This scheme will provide many people in Cork with a real opportunity to do so,” said Minister O’Brien.

The Minister said the scheme was among a suite of measures in the ‘Housing For All’ plan aimed at both making homes more affordable and to strengthen and diversify Cork’s rural areas so they become hubs for local housing and employment growth.

“This initiative will work hand-in-hand with the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, which is also funded by the Croí Cónaithe fund and aims to tackle dereliction in our towns and villages by giving prospective homeowners a grant of up to €30,000 and €50,000 if a property is derelict, for the refurbishment of a vacant property,” said Minister O’Brien.

Under the scheme all available sites will be advertised on both Cork County and City Council’s websites and in relevant local publications.

Eligibility criteria will also be outlined on the websites.

Welcoming the extension of the scheme to include vacant buildings and sites in rural areas, Cllr Moynihan said it was a “step in the right direction”.

“This is fantastic news. The lack of affordable housing is a huge issue right across rural Cork and every possible avenue must be examined to increase the availably of homes,” said Cllr Moynihan.

“Any initiative that helps bring life and vibrancy back to rural Ireland is a step in the right direction and has to be welcomed,” he added.

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