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Minister announces £3.9million in funding for listed buildings

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Arlene Foster, Minister of the Environment, today announced two major funding initiatives totalling £3.9million for our historic listed buildings.

Firstly, the historic buildings grant-aid scheme will receive an additional £1.5million, increasing it from £2.4 to £3.9million.  The existing policy has been revised to take account of this.  Secondly, up to £500,000 per year will be set aside from this extra money to help building preservation trusts rescue listed buildings at risk.

Speaking at the ‘Windows of Opportunity’ Regeneration and Heritage Conference in the Stormont Hotel, the Minister said: “Today’s announcement means that for the first time since the 1980s secular grade B2 listed buildings can benefit from a grant-aid scheme.  This will allow some 3400 more owners to get help with valuable works of repair or maintenance to the historic fabric of their building.”

The percentage of grant aid for eligible works to the historic fabric of buildings is also increasing to 35% for most buildings.  This represents an increase from 20% for the higher grades of building and reflects the recognised additional cost of appropriate conservation materials and techniques - an essential requirement when carrying out works to a listed building.  

The Minister continued: “My Department has already worked successfully with building preservation trusts to produce innovative solutions for threatened and dilapidated buildings and I want to see this partnership between Government and the community sector greatly extended.

“Therefore I am providing up to £500,000 of the increased budget to fund building preservation trusts and similar community based organisations.

“Our historic heritage has great potential both socially and economically and I look forward to positive progress and to many more listed buildings benefiting from this additional funding.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. There are approximately 8200 listed buildings in NI.
  2. The new £500,000 scheme will be administered on EHS’ behalf by the Architectural heritage Fund (AHF).
  3. The BHARNI register is compiled by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, funded by EHS.
  4. A maximum of £125,000 will be available per project, up to the annual ceiling of £500,000.
  5. The funding will enable Trusts to be established, build capacity, acquire buildings and come forward with innovative refurbishment projects.
  6. The AHF is a registered charity founded in 1976 to promote the conservation of historic buildings in the UK. Its Chief Executive is Ian Lush, who attended the conference.
  7. This stream of funding will only be available to building Preservation Trusts or other charitable organisations concerned with rescuing listed buildings at risk.
  8. For media enquiries please contact DOE Press Office 028 9054 0014 or out of office hours, contact the EIS Duty Press Officer on pager 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.