Conservation Grants


Grants for Conservation of Protected Structures in 2021

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, TD, today (Thursday 1 April) announced that 477 heritage projects across every county in the country will benefit from a total of €3m under this year’s Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS).

Of this fund €72,000 has been allocated to 12 projects in Laois, ranging from small thatched houses to larger country houses.

Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, welcomed the announcement saying “In addition to supporting owners of historic buildings in looking after their properties, this funding will also provide a welcome boost to local construction and heritage trades by facilitating works with a total value of over €15.5m and creating jobs estiated at 19,000 days’ labour. Laois County Council is delighted to be able to participate in the Built Heritage Investment Scheme, providing a link between the Department and owners on the ground and getting this funding out to Laois Communities”.

Thatched house near Emo rethatched under the Built Heritage Investment Scheme in 2020

The BHIS is one of two built heritage funding schemes run by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in association with the 31 Local Authorities. Through grants of up to €15,000, the BHIS assists owners of heritage structures – including those on the local authorities’ Record of Protected Structures and those in Architectural Conservation Areas – to meet their obligations to care for their properties. The scheme is not limited to private dwellings and also provides assistance to a wide range of other important heritage.
Also included under the BHIS 2021 is a continuation of a micro-grant stream introduced in 2020 to increase the resilience of historic structures to withstand the constant effects of climate change. This allows local authorities to make smaller awards to owners of historic properties to carry out routine maintenance to offset the impact of climate change on their buildings.

Minister Noonan said: “I am delighted to announce €3m investment in our built heritage which will assist 477 owners and custodians of historic and protected structures right across the country as they carry out hundreds of small-scale, labour-intensive projects to repair and safeguard our built heritage. These awards will provide much-needed economic stimulus in all 31 local authority areas and will give employment to the many small businesses, skilled conservation specialists and tradespeople involved in heritage-related construction activity. Not only will this €3m funding help sustain specialist heritage businesses while the market recovers, it is also an investment in this Government’s commitment under the Programme for Government to encourage traditional building skills.”

Minister of State for Local Government, Peter Burke, TD, also welcomed the announcement, saying “the success of the Built Heritage Investment Scheme is testament to the close working relationship between the Department and the Local Authorities, particularly the Architectural Conservation Officers, Heritage Officers and planning and administrative staff without whom these schemes would not exist. It is particularly pleasing to see this year’s BHIS fund so many projects in our towns, in line with this Government’s commitment to put Town Centres First.”

Conservation work funded by the BHIS underway at St Paul’s French Church Portarlington in 2020

Laois Projects funded this year are as follows:

Projects Funding Allocated
House, Stradbally, Co. Laois €8,500.00
Thatch Durrow, Co. Laois €7,000.00
Thatch Fisherstown, Co. Laois €7,000.00
Thatch Rathleague, Co. Laois €7,000.00
Thatch Clonaghadooo, Co. Laois €6,000.00
St Paul’s French Church Portarlington, Co. Laois €4,000.00
Thatch Jamestown, Co. Laois €3,500.00
 House Mountmellick, Co. Laois €10,000.00
Thatch Ballybodin, Co. Laois €1,000.00
Thatch Graigue, Co. Laois €7,000.00
Thatch Ballacolla, Co. Laois €7,000.00
Forum Mountmellick, Co. Laois €4,000.00
 TOTAL €72,000.00

 

Built Heritage Investment Scheme

The Built Heritage Investment Scheme is designed to support owners and custodians in caring for our built heritage and ensuring that it is protected into the future. Buildings must be on the Laois Record of Protected Structures. Details of the 2021 scheme are below.

Full Scheme Terms and Conditions: BHIS 2021 Circular

Application Forms:

Pdf format – BHIS 2021 Application pdf

MS Word Format – BHIS 2021 Application Form A LAOIS

 

Funding of Projects

The minimum funding awarded for successful projects will be €2,500 up to a maximum of €15,000, at a match funding rate of 50%. Priority is given to small-scale, labour-intensive projects.

The Department is piloting a funding stream under this scheme for works of routine maintenance and minor repairs, which were not previously eligible for funding under the scheme. For projects awarded funding under the pilot scheme for works of routine maintenance and minor repairs, the minimum amount will not apply. The maximum award for such projects will be €2,500.

 

Historic Structures Fund

The primary focus of the Historic Structures Fund will be on conservation and enhancement of historic structures and buildings for the benefit of communities and the public.

Details for the scheme are below. Please note the requirement for an appropriately qualified conservation professional to oversee the works, and for a comprehensive and sound methodology to accompany the application.

The Historic Structures Fund 2021 will have several streams with different requirements:

Stream Available Funding What will be funded Maximimum Grant Number of Applications per local Authority Requirement to be on RPS or in ACA
Stream 1
Smaller capital works
Grants between €15,000 and €50,000 Essential repairs and small capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of historic structures to safeguard the structure and keep it in use. 80% of eligible costs max 3 Yes
Pilot Historic Shopfonts Grants between €15,000 and €50,000 Essential repairs and small capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of historic shop facades, windows, signage and other associated details to safeguard them and keep them in use. 80% of eligible costs max. 1 Yes
Pilot Historic Irish Language Shopfront Grants between €15,000 and €50,000 for essential repairs and small capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of historic Irish-language shop facades, windows, signage and other associated details to safeguard them and keep them in use. 80% of eligible costs max. 1 Yes
Stream 2
Community Benefit
Grants between €50,000 and €200,000. Grants may be phased over two years. Larger enhancement or significant refurbishment projects involving historic structures, where a clear benefit to the community and the public has been demonstrated. 50% of eligible costs. In exceptional circumstances a higher percentage may be sought, up to a max of 80%. 1 Yes
Stream 3
Vernacular Buildings
Grants between €5,000 and €10,000 Essential repairs and small capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of vernacular structures to safeguard the structure and keep it in use. 80% of eligible costs max. 1 No

Full details are in the Scheme Guidelines below.

Scheme guidelines: Historic Structures Fund 2021 – Circular

Application Forms:

Pdf format – HSF2021-Form-A-LAOIS

MS Word Format – HSF2021 Form A LAOIS

All applications under the Historic Structures fund must be accompanied by a completed form A and a comprehensive method statement prepared by a conservation professional.

The closing date for applications under both schemes was 1st March 2021. 

For further information please contact:
Forward Planning Section, Laois County Council,
Áras An Chontae, Portlaoise, Co Laois. Email voreilly@laoiscoco.ie, phone 057-866 4000.