IN March of this year, the Waterford News & Star contacted the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government to enquire as to when the next tranche of Urban Regeneration Development Fund (URDF) would be announced. This is the largest fund that Waterford Council has applied to for funding that will support the building of the North Quays infrastructure.
At the time, a spokesperson for the Department gave the following response:
“The timeline for the second call for proposals is not yet finalised. The Department’s process of engagement with successful applicants from the first call is nearing completion. Following this process there will be a review of the first call (application process, evaluation criteria, duration of the application window, etc.) before a second call for proposals is considered.”
Almost five months later (this week), and a date for the next tranche announcement has still not been announced. In a statement to the Waterford News & Star last Friday, a Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government spokesperson said in order to establish the level of URDF funding demands expected to arise for 2019 and beyond, the Department has, since last November, “engaged with a large number of the successful applicants to clarify the details of proposals, the proposed composition and progression of projects and to establish the appropriate level of ‘whole project’ support from the URDF.”
“On foot of these engagements further correspondence issued to the successful applicants in June, outlining the terms and conditions attached to the URDF support, together with the arrangements for the management and disbursement of the associated Exchequer funding,” the spokesperson said. “Following this process, the Department are currently undertaking a review of the first call (Application Process, Evaluation Criteria, Duration of the application window, etc.) before the details of the second call for proposals are announced later in the year. Once complete, the Department will ensure that there is an appropriate level of coverage/advertising for this call including the details of any planned workshops.”
It is understood that Waterford City & County Council (with the support of Falcon Real Estate, Kilkenny County Council, Wexford County Council and Irish Rail) have been assured that they do not need to apply again for funding as they have been identified as one of the key enablers of Project 2040. However, the second stage of funding for the North Quays infrastructure will not be released until all of the other tranches have been decided.
Meanwhile, the words of Falcon Real Estate Director Rob Cass from earlier this year are still ringing in Waterford ears when he said that the company would quit the project if infrastructure funding wasn’t confirmed by November 2019.
The Waterford News & Star understands that the printing of the planning submission, which was anticipated to cost over €100k, has been completed and is just awaiting sign off from the Saudi developers. However, Saudi Arabians are currently celebrating the Islamic festival Eid al-Adha and their signatures are not expected until that ends later this week.