Irrestawra Darek scheme launched to regenerate village core areas

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Irrestawra Darek scheme launched to regenerate village core areasThe Planning Authority has launched a grant scheme – Irrestawra Darek – to further assist in the regeneration of Gozo and Malta’s village core areas, following measures announced in the Budget.

Through this scheme the Authority said that it is seeking to promote investment in the restoration, conservation and maintenance of privately owned residential properties located within Urban Conservation Areas (UCAs) and Grade 1 and Grade 2 scheduled buildings.

Under this scheme, first time private buyers of residential Grade 1 and Grade 2 scheduled buildings may apply for a rebate on 70% of eligible costs of restoration and conservation works on facade and interior up to a maximum of €100,000, whereas first time private buyers of an old residence located within Urban Conservation Areas (UCAs) may apply for a rebate of up to a maximum of €10,000.

The Authority said that the scheme is also open for private owners of residences, located within an Urban Conservation Area (UCA), who wish to carry out restoration and maintenance works on the facade of their old property.

Private owners of such residences may apply for a grant of 70% of the works, up to a maximum of €10,000. For Grade 1 and Grade 2 scheduled buildings, the grant scheme will provide a rebate of up to a maximum of €100,000.

To further incentivize residents to take the plunge to restore the facade of their old property, the Planning Authority said that it has reached an agreement with the Local Council Association for all local councils to make available the professional services of a conservation architect within the locality.

The Authority has agreed a capping and said that it will reimburse the local council for fees incurred by the council to assist residents in the submission of a planning application related to this scheme. “The Association has also agreed to waiver any fees a local council charges for the placement of scaffolding related to these works for a 3-month period.”

This scheme which will commence on the 16th of January 2017 is being made available up to a maximum of €8 million on a first come first served basis up until 30th April 2017. Works must have a planning permit and have to commence after 1st January 2017. Fiscal receipts would also be required.

The Authority said that it has also launched a new Planning Fund which will consolidate all the existing funds, including the Urban Improvement Fund (UIF) and the Commuters Parking Payment Scheme (CPPS) that are collected from development permits and are made available for projects to be carried out within the community.

“The new Planning Fund will also be given a further injection of €13 million from the fees generated by the Authority from the regularisation process,” it said.

The purpose of this new fund is to widen its scope and therefore give greater flexibility to what projects qualify for funding. Additionally, the Authority said that the Fund will not be restricted to local councils alone but government entities, NGOs and the private sector may also apply for funding through the local council.

To promote better co-operation and introduce economies of scale, the Authority said that it is encouraging local councils to present proposed projects on a regional level. These projects will benefit from 100% funding while projects from individual local councils will receive up to 70% of the costs.

The funds for both initiatives are being made available by the Authority from the fees it generates from the regularisation process application. The regularisation process application provide property owners with a ‘one-time opportunity’ to regularise existing unsanctionable non-conformant developments located entirely within the development boundaries.

Further information pertaining to the Irrestawra Darek scheme may be downloaded from the Authority’s website www.pa.org.mt.

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