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Funding announced for urban makeovers

Words: Roger Milne

Local authorities and community groups in Ireland have been given an €80m fund to help rejuvenate urban areas.

Housing and planning minister Paudie Coffey said local authorities could use the EU funding to help pay for measures including new open spaces and pedestrianisation projects that would improve town centres.

Under the Designated Urban Centres Grant Scheme, capital projects designed to improve run-down areas will be funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and local authorities between now and 2020.

"There is a strong correlation between healthy and vibrant urban centres and the creation of an attractive environment and enterprise development within the wider region,” Coffey insisted.

The funding stream will include the proceeds of the vacant site levy, charged on landowners who fail to develop prime sites.

Projects that can apply for funding fall under two main headings - revitalisation of urban areas and sustainable urban transport.