Small Business Vacant Premises Incentive Scheme Terms Conditions and Guidelines

Small Business Vacant Premises Incentive Scheme Terms Conditions and Guidelines


Kilkenny County Council provides a ‘Small Business Vacant Premises Incentive Scheme’ to encourage the use of vacant commercial premises. The purpose of the scheme is to give an incentive for the occupation of previously vacant commercial property for a new business start-up or an existing small business expanding, by lowering entry costs through a grant related to the level of rates payable on the property.
This scheme sets out the mechanism, eligibility and conditions for businesses to receive financial assistance from the Council for the purpose of locating in premises that have been vacant for a period exceeding six months.

Aims of the Scheme: 1. To encourage businesses to occupy vacant premises 2. To aid the regeneration of streetscapes 3. To support job creation by viable businesses 4. To improve the business sentiment of the community 5. To ease the financial challenges of start-up’s and micro-businesses

Scheme Details:
The scheme shall operate as a payment of a grant awarded by Kilkenny County Council directly to the qualifying applicants and is paid for the first three years of the start-up or expansion.
The scheme shall apply to premises which have a total rates bill not exceeding €5000.
The grant is based on a correlation to the business’s commercial rates for the qualifying commercial premises, paid on a reducing basis of 75%, 50% and 25%, over a three year period. This scheme will allow a business to receive up to €7500 over the three years of the scheme. Full rates will be paid by the applicant in the fourth and subsequent years.
Rates eligible Grant category Maximum Grant award to Business End of Year 1 Up to €5000 75% €3750 End of Year 2 Up to €5000 50% €2500 End of Year 3 Up to €5000 25% €1250 Total €7500


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The grant will be paid on a rolling 12 month basis, starting 12 months after the business opened.
Where a property is currently not listed for rates at the time of occupation and commencement of trade, the qualifying applicant will become eligible for payment on a prorata basis during the first three years, once rates valuation takes place.
Eligibility Criteria:
1) The applicant business must occupy commercial premises that have been vacant for at least 6 months prior to the applicants letting. Refurbished vacant commercial premises and newly built commercial expansion to the existing business premises are eligible. 2) The applicant business must not have traded in a similar business or premises used for the same purpose within a three kilometre radius prior to opening. 3) The applicant business does not cause displacement to existing businesses locally. 4) The following business categories are excluded: Betting shops, Casinos, Head Shops, Adult shops, Amusement arcades, Nightclubs/Private members clubs, Moneylenders, Pawn brokers or Cash for Gold Shops, Liquid Tobacco / Electric cigarettes Shops, Tattoo parlours, Sunbed /Tanning studio, Hot Food Takeaways.
The Application Requirements & Process:
1. The potential applicant must meet with an officer from Kilkenny County Council Economic Development office to discuss the application, establish eligibility and to address any queries the applicant may have regarding the process before an application form is issued. 2. Eligible applicants must apply using the official application form within the first 12 months of opening in the relevant premises. 3. Evidence of the time that the property was vacant in advance of applicant business start up is to be submitted with the application form. 4. The applicant must be the owner or lease holder of the premises. Evidence of ownership / occupation of unit e.g. land registry cert, lease agreement, is to be submitted with the application form. 5. A map showing location of premises to be submitted. 6. Evidence of applicants Tax Compliance (i.e. Tax Clearance details) is to be submitted with the application form. 7. Evidence to be provided that all rates due for the applicant are up to date for the year the grant applies to. 8. Applicants must be signed up for collection of rates through Direct Debit. 9. Applicant must be planning compliant. 10. Where an applicant is also a Kilkenny Local Enterprise Office client with a refundable grant, the refundable grant repayments must be up to date.


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Assessment of Applications for Grant:
Each application shall be assessed by a multi-disciplinary team within Kilkenny County Council in accordance with the provisions of the Scheme as set out in this document. Where necessary, additional information may be sought from the applicant to clarify or verify details of the application and / or proposed business.
Notification of the outcome of the assessment will be issued in writing to the applicant.

Appeals Process:
Unsuccessful applicants will have an opportunity to appeal the decision within a 30 day time frame of receipt of notification by outlining the case in writing and sending it for the attention of Sean McKeown, Director of Services, County Hall, Johns Street, Kilkenny.

How to Apply:
Contact:
Bríd Hynes, Economic Development Kilkenny County Council County Hall, Johns Street, Kilkenny. Tel: 056-7794196 E-mail: brid.hynes@kilkennycoco.ie

Please Note:
Application Forms will only be issued following a meeting between the interested party and the above contact person within Kilkenny County Council.




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APPENDIX:
Example A.
An Irish Dancing costume retail shop opened in January 2017 in a vacant premise, employing one person, on Dean Street. The premises, formerly a furniture shop, have been vacant for 12 months. The commercial rates for the retail unit are €2,000 annually. The business pays their commercial rates on time by direct debit monthly. The business applies under the vacant premises grant scheme and is approved.
In January 2018, the business receives a grant award of €1,500 (75% of €2,000). In January 2019, the business receives a grant award of €1,000 (50% of €2,000). In January 2020, the business receives a grant award of € 500 (25% of €2,000).
Example B.
An engineer and a quantity surveyor, working from offices in their homes, decide to open a shared office in a vacant commercial property in Gowran in September 2016. The premises, formerly a news agent, has been vacant for 3 years. The commercial rates for the retail unit are €1,000 annually. The business pays their commercial rates on time by direct debit monthly. The business applies under the vacant premises grant scheme and is approved.

In October 2017, the business receives a grant award of €750 (75% of €1,000). In October 2018, the business receives a grant award of €500 (50% of €1,000). In October 2019, the business receives a grant award of € 250 (25% of €1,000).

Example 3.
A sport equipment retailer / wholesaler open in Mooncoin in March 2017, employing 6 staff. The property has not been occupied for 5 years. The commercial rates are €3,000 which the business pays monthly by direct debit, with no arrears. Planning was approved for a new entrance and signage. The retailer applies for and is approved for the small business vacant premises incentive scheme.

In April 2018, the business receives a grant award of €2,250 (75% of €3,000). In April 2019, the business receives a grant award of €1,500 (50% of €3,000). In April 2020, the business receives a grant award of € 750 (25% of €3,000).

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