Mark H. Durkan and the Department of Finance & Personnel have announced that they are planning to stop all Listed Building and Townscape Heritage Grants, and the UAHS led Built Heritage at Risk NI, (BHARNI). These cuts signal a devastating blow to the protection of historic buildings in Northern Ireland. See the DoE draft budget here.
Listed Building Grant Aid:
Listed building owners face a huge financial challenge raising the capital to cover the conservation deficit in maintaining and restoring our historic assets. Listed Building Grant Aid from the DoE provides funding for eligible works on listed buildings at 35-45%. Not only does grant aid support owners, but it can be taken as a source of match funding to encourage the support of other funders for the progression of key regeneration projects. If this financial aid is withdrawn, building owners will struggle to keep their historic properties maintained, water tight or even in use. For many it is the sole financial support that they can get to maintain their listed building. A responsibility that is a legal requirement.
Townscape Heritage Initiatives:
Townscape heritage initiative grants provide support to regenerate our conservation areas and areas of townscape character. As with listed building grants THI grants can be a valuable source of match funding to encourage the support of other funders to invest in townscape heritage schemes. If this financial aid is withdrawn it will have devastating impacts on the overall conservation of our towns and villages.
Built Heritage at Risk NI (BHARNI):
The UAHS has worked for over 20 years to raise awareness of buildings at risk throughout Northern Ireland. In addition to survey, evaluation and maintaining an online register of Built Heritage At Risk Northern Ireland (BHARNI). UAHS works to identify sustainable future uses for our valuable built heritage; provides help and advice for existing owners who may wish to engage upon a suitable scheme of repair; and offers assistance to potential new restoring owners who are looking for properties for sale. Through BHARNI, buildings at risk are promoted from being challenging legacies of our past, to buildings of potential for new uses, social regeneration, tourism and skilled job creation.
For every £1 of listed building grant, £7.65 is leveraged from other sources, (DoE, 2012). 187 buildings at risk have been saved with the help of UAHS, 2006-14, (UAHS, 2014). Many buildings at risk rely on listed building grant aid to secure their future.
What you can do:
Sign the UAHS petition to say no to cuts affecting the protection of historic buildings in Northern Ireland. To go to the petition click here.
Write a letter to the Department of Environment and Department of Finance and Personnel:
Download, or copy, paste and amend the UAHS pro forma letters as a template to send your own individual representation:
Pro forma: Reverse Cuts to Listed Building Grants
Pro forma: Reverse Cuts to the UAHS BHARNI Programme
Deliver your responses to:
Director of Finance and Business Planning
10-18 Adelaide Street
Telephone: 028 90 540820
Mark H. Durkan
Minister of the Environment
DOE Private Office
44 - 58 May Street