First LOTS scheme underway in Dungannon
Publish Date: Friday, 27 April 2007
Not only is Dungannon 'altogether better' but there's also 'LOTS' happening as work has commenced on the first LOTS (Living Over The Shop) project at 64 Irish Street, which will create two first floor residential units.
The scheme at 64 Irish Street will involve the renovation of a property to provide a retail unit on the first floor and a self-contained one-bedroom flat on each of the first and second floors. This LOTS project has recently been granted approval with work commencing at the site last month and it is hoped that a number of other schemes will soon be granted approval to proceed.
The LOTS initiative is spearheaded by Dungannon Regeneration Partnership (DRP) in conjunction with Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE). The initiative is part of a government drive to promote greater residential use within town centres and encourage town centre living through the conversion of vacant or otherwise underused upper floors of retail and commercial premises into residential apartments.
Patrick Corrigan, property owner of the first scheme to commence work stated: "I am delighted that work is underway at 64 Irish Street to provide high standard accommodation suitable for the demands of modern living. The LOTS initiative is a real incentive for property owners to invest in their premises and create much needed residential accommodation in a very convenient location."
Commenting on the initiative, Cllr Walter Cuddy, Chairman of Dungannon Regeneration Partnership (DRP) stated: "Dungannon Regeneration Partnership (DRP) in association with the Council and the Housing Executive has taken a proactive role in promoting the LOTS initiative and encouraging owners of vacant or underused properties in Dungannon to refurbish them with the help of generous financial assistance. This is an excellent initiative and as well as ensuring that the town centre is active at all times it will also provide the casual surveillance essential to the security of the town centre."
He continued, "The provision of more available living space is a major boost for Dungannon and the social and economic benefits will undoubtedly enhance the vitality and viability of the town centre. At the same time, encouraging people to live in the town centre will greatly enhance its economy, vibrancy and security, especially in the evenings."
Paul McCreedy, Town Development Manager, commented, "The Dungannon LOTS initiative follows a number of recent successful town centre initiatives and is just one of a number of initiatives that Dungannon Regeneration Partnership will continue to actively pursue as part of a broad regeneration programme that will contribute to the town being an 'altogether better' location where people want to visit, live and work in and where businesses are attracted to locate in and grow."
"We are very encouraged by the number of applications that have been received thus far and the general level of interest that has been shown in the LOTS initiative. It is particularly pleasing to see work commence at 64 Irish Street and we hope that seeing this property renovated will give confidence to even more property owners to join the initiative."
The maximum grant available under the LOTS initiative is £25,000 Renovation grant for a single self-contained residential unit or £30,000 for more than one residential unit or Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO). The Grant is set at 75% of the approved cost of the eligible works for landlords and is subject to a test of resources for owner-occupiers to provide residential accommodation within vacant or under-utilised upper floors of shops and other commercial buildings within a designated town centre area of Dungannon. Other generous financial incentives are available to local property owners such as tax relief incentives on capital expenditure and reduced rate VAT may be applicable. Properties within the designated Town Centre Living Initiative Area Boundary are eligible to apply.
Properties suitable for conversion will be those that have the potential for creating good quality housing, have a commercial aspect on the ground floor and provide separate access to the upper floors.
Implementation of this scheme will bring significant economic, social, and financial benefits to the town, as eligible property owners would be able to attain substantial funding to renovate their upper floors into modern town centre living accommodation. While this scheme also provides a welcome opportunity to bring dwellers back into the town centre to live above the shops and is a massive stride forward in the process to rejuvenate Dungannon's evening economy.
Any property owners who may be interested in finding out more about the Dungannon LOTS initiative or who may wish to make an application should contact either Paul McCreedy, Town Development Manager or Martin O'Neill, Urban Regeneration Support Officer at Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council, Ranfurly House, 26 Market Square, Dungannon. Tel: 028 877 28 615/617. Email: [email protected] or [email protected]