Planning Authority’s Irrestawra Darek Grant Scheme oversubscribed

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The Planning Authority’s Irrestawra Darek Grant Scheme which was launched at the end of last year to assist in the regeneration of Malta’s Urban Conservation Areas has been wrapped up earlier than expected after an overwhelming response.

these past two and a half months, the Authority said that it had received over 800 requests, exhausting the entire €8 million it pledged towards this scheme.

The highest number of requests, 64 in total, came from the locality of Sliema, followed by Zabbar (48), Valletta (46), Zejtun (44) and Birkirkara (40) respectively.

The scheme received a strong response, 327 requests from first time buyers who purchased an old property within an Urban Conservation Area (UCA). This target group were eligible to apply for a rebate which covered 70% of the costs of restoration and conservation works, carried out on both the facade and interior of the property, up to a maximum of €10,000.

The remaining requests came from private owners of residences, located within an Urban Conservation Area, who will receive a rebate for restoration and maintenance works carried out on the facade alone of their old property.

The Authority said that it also received 37 requests from private owners of Grade 1 or 2 scheduled buildings, who are entitled to benefit from a rebate of up to a maximum of €100,000.

To further incentivise residents to take the plunge to restore the facade of their old property, the Planning Authority had reached an agreement with local councils for them to assist vulnerable persons to fill in the scheme request form. 9 applicants submitted a request through this agreement.

The Authority had agreed a capping of the fees incurred by vulnerable persons in engaging their own conservation architect for the works and will also reimburse the respective local council for their administrative support to vulnerable persons in the submission of their planning application related to this scheme.

Mr. Johann Buttigieg, Executive Chairperson of the Planning Authority said “through this scheme we showed our commitment to promote investment in the restoration and conservation of our village cores and protected buildings.”

“Not only” he added “in line with our commitment to encourage and promote energy efficiency in buildings, the scheme also gave the public the opportunity to also get a rebate on any enhancement energy efficiency measures they carry out within the restored building. The installation of these services must not compromise or negatively impact the heritage value of the heritage building.”

Over these past weeks, the Authority said that it received 1380 telephone calls and 600 emails from the public with queries about this scheme. “Within a matter of 2 days, every request for funding was acknowledged.”

In the coming days, the Authority said that it will be notifying all applicants which expenses are eligible for funding and whether the proposed works require a planning permission or other conditions.

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

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