New lease of life for property

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A property in Richhill is being given a new lease of life thanks to a scheme aimed at rejuvenating town centre properties across the province.

The property at Main Street (above the local WI hall) is one of 15 empty town centre properties provincewide to benefit from the £300,000 scheme

The Housing Executive, alongside the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Townscape Heritage scheme, launched a pilot scheme called ‘Heritage in Housing’ last year.

Central to the delivery of a Townscape Heritage scheme is a joint funding pot, made up of the HLF grant (between £100,000 and £2million), together with funds from the grantees and any other partners, from which grants are made to private owners (third-party grants).

Properties that have been empty above or close to business premises will receive funding for repairs and improvements which will provide additional housing options in areas of need.

In total, 15 properties were selected to receive funding located within the six designated conservation areas (Richhill, Portaferry, Londonderry, Ballymoney, Donaghadee and Carrickfergus). Almost £100,000 was invested into properties in 2015/16 and £200,000 in 2016/17 on a three year programme aiming to complete in 2017/18.

Chairperson of Richhill Buildings Preservation Trust Jim Speers said, “The grant contributions,,, have benefited the village in many ways. It has allowed the restoration of buildings within the conservation area preserving them for future generations and has brought vacant floor space back into use by providing homes.”