A home restoration grant was closed today following overwhelming uptake from the public, Planning Parliamentary Secretary Deborah Schembri said today.

Addressing a press conference, Dr Schembri told reporters that the Irrestawra Darek scheme, launched back in January, had been met with more than 800 requests from home owners.

She said the entire €8 million allotted for the project had already been absorbed and the last few applications were being processed.

Although applications had come from all over the island, the highest concentration were for Grade 1 or 2 scheduled properties in Sliema. Żebbuġ and Valletta had also generated a lot of interest, she said.

Under the scheme, first-time private buyers of residential Grade 1 and Grade 2 scheduled buildings applied for a rebate on 70 per cent of eligible costs of restoration and conservation works on facade and interior up to a maximum of €100,000, whereas first-time private buyers of an old residence located within Urban Conservation Areas (UCAs) could apply for a rebate of up to a maximum of €10,000.

The scheme was also open to private owners of residences, located within an Urban Conservation Area, commonly referred to as the village core, who wish to carry out restoration and maintenance works on the facade of their old property.

Dr Schembri said the scheme had been financed through money collected by the authority through its regularisation programme, in which people pay a fee to bring building irregularities into line.

She said the government would be looking at ways to come up with other similar schemes as there was clearly an interest in them.


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