Portrush Urban Development Grant Explained

2020 Architects answer the most common questions surrounding the Portrush Urban Development Grant which is open until February 22nd, 2017.

Who is administering UDG funding for Portrush?

This funding is administered by the Department for Communities.  It is a £3m Portrush-specific scheme.

What is the aim of UDG?

The aim is to tackle deprivation and invest in Portrush to present it as an attractive tourist destination ahead of hosting the Open Golf Championship, 2019.

It is also intended to create more permanent jobs and to improve the environment of the town by creating new buildings on derelict sites, or refurbished buildings on rundown sites.

What is the maximum grant permissible?

The Department will consider every application based on its individual merits.  There is no upper limit to the amount of grant that can be received.  Grant money covers ‘eligible costs’ (see below).

For large firms, the maximum grant permissible is for 10% of eligible costs, medium firms 20% and small firms 30%.

A small enterprise is defined as one with less than 50 staff and with a turnover less or equal to €10 million.

A medium enterprise is defined as one with less than 250 staff and with a turnover less or equal to €50 million.

What activities will be supported?

UDG is available for a range of physical development projects in sectors such as retail, commercial, light industrial and private housing.

Refurbishing derelict property/flats for the purpose of setting/letting is an ideal example of a project that will be supported.

Restructuring existing buildings to modernise them.  There is no limitation on the use to which a restructured building may be put, provided the use is legal.

Speculative development – including constructing a new building/ housing development, or refurbishing an existing building(s) for the purpose of letting/selling (must not be for private occupation.)

*developers must indicate previous experience.

What is regarded as eligible expenditure?

UDG only covers ‘eligible costs’ defined as the basic shell finish – walls, floors and roof.  Anything over and above this will NOT be included.  Interior finishes are usually excluded.

UDG also covers professional fees including quantity surveyor and architecture fees.

What areas in Portrush are included?

Priority One – Town centre/core retail area.

Priority Two – Portrush Peninsula.

Priority Three – Town settlement development limit as defined in the Northern Area Plan 2016.

Asides from the area priority, other performance indicators will be taken into consideration including;

  • Leverage (ratio to public/private expenditure)
  • Number of additional jobs created
  • Improved street frontage
  • Increased/improved floor area
  • Increased property value
  • Rental growth
  • Rates revenue increase
To download the Portrush UDG Priority Area Map click here


Do you have to own the property?

If you are wanting to purchase a property, you can still submit an application based on the premise you are going to own the building providing that once the application is finalised you can prove you are the legal owner.

Are lease holders eligible to apply?

Yes, lease holders are eligible to apply however the Department states you must be a ‘long term’ lease holder.  What is defined as ‘long term’ is at the discretion of the Department.  The amount of grant funding for lease holders is also dependant on the length of lease.

What is the closing date for UDG funding?

Applications to the UDG scheme must be received by the Department before the closing date of 22nd February.

Before making an application, it is strongly advised you consult with Planning Service to ascertain whether planning permission will be required.

How long will the process take?

Once you have submitted your application, the Department estimates a processing time of  6/7 months.

It also advises that applicants should “retain a professionally qualified building consultant who may be an architect, quantity surveyor or structural engineer to prepare the initial documentation…any subsequent grant offer will be conditional on a professionally qualified consultant being retained.”

2020 Architects are offering free feasibility studies and will assist clients with filling out the UDG grant application.  We will take permissible projects step-by-step through planning and building control to simplify the process.

For additional advice or assistance with your UDG grant application contact 2020 Architects on 028 2766 7999 or email info@2020architects.co.uk