The deadline for completion of works under the €7 million Streetscape Enhancement Initiative has been extended to the end of the year.
Under the scheme, property owners in over 120 towns and villages are being provided with funding to improve the facades of their buildings, carry out artwork and install features such as canopies and street furniture.
Mountrath, Mountmellick, Rathdowney, Ballinakill and Ballylinan were the areas in Laois that were selected.
The initiative is being delivered by the Local Authorities, with considerable discretion provided to each Local Authority to design the scheme locally to meet their individual needs.
Initially, Local Authorities were required to report back on the delivery of the scheme in November of this year, resulting in some property owners being required to complete works by the end of October.
Laois Cathoirleach Conor Bergin has welcomed the extension.
He said: “‘In August, an announcement was made by the Government that Mountrath, Mountmellick, Rathdowney, Ballinakill and Ballylinan communities would have the opportunity to share in €260,000 worth of financial support for the upgrade and enhancement of shopfronts and street facades in their towns and villages.
”Grants of up to €8,000 per building are available in specific areas of these towns under the new Streetscape Enhancement Scheme announced by the government under the “Our Rural Future” Strategy.
”Applications closed for the scheme on 7th September and I know there has been a huge level of interest locally in these towns and villages.
“However, the deadline for completion of works by 1st November was a very tight timeframe and I greatly welcome the announcement by Minister Humphreys today that this has been extended until 31st December 2021 and Local Authorities, such as Laois County Council have been provided with further flexibility to manage the scheme locally.
“The aim of the Scheme is to improve the visual appearance of our urban streetscapes which increases pride and confidence in our towns and villages, making them more attractive places to live, work and do business.
“We in Laois County Council look forward to working with communities and the owners of business and residential premises in these towns and villages.”