Vacant property grant scheme flops in county
THE Economic Development section introduced a Vacant Property Grant Incentive Scheme across the county's urban centres of Wexford, Enniscorthy, Bunclody, New Ross and Gorey during 2014 and 2015 but the take up was only 11.
Director of Services for Economic Development Tony Larkin said 25 per cent of the applicants have been approved and received one year payments. Mr Larkin proposed extending the scheme. He said properties must be vacant for a minimum of one year prior to new occupation, applicants must have fit-out expenditure related to improving the fabric of the building, applications must be accepted from across County Wexford, with priority towards the main urban centres, property located in existing business and industrial parks and businesses operating in the hospitality and tourism sector (particularly projects that contribute to the regeneration of key tourism infrastructure in Rosslare, the Hook Peninsula and Courtown areas).
The grant relief to be provided under the scheme is grant relief based on certified fit-out and improvement costs subject to a maximum of 75 per cent of the annual rates liability; year two grant relief amounts to a maximum of 50 and Year 3 grant relief has a minimum of 25 per cent.
Mr Larkin said the five schemes are different in each area.
'There are other key areas in which we would like to do something. We are very keen to develop some small individual premises in Wexford town and at the old hotel sites in Rosslare and in Courtown Harbour.'
He said local chambers are promoting the scheme.
'It has been very well received in the business community.'
Cllr Michael Sheehan said businesses in the county need to be supported no matter where they are based. He said the New Ross and Enniscorthy areas should be prioritised as they will be affected when the bypasses are built.
Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin said there has not been a good uptake on the scheme, asking if more incentives are required.
Mr Larkin agreed that the local authority would like to see a greater uptake.
'The uptake is reflective of the economy which has been a bit slower in certain areas.'
Cllr Sheehan proposed the changes and Cllr Johnny Mythen seconded them.