‘Heritage loans’ to encourage people to restore listed buildings

Summary

New low-interest loans are aimed at getting individuals, developers and heritage organisations to restore and repurpose protected buildings

Valuable heritage

The government has introduced a new “heritage loan” to encourage both private citizens and developers to invest in protected buildings. The low-interest loan has a ceiling of €250,000, to be used for restoring, renovating and repurposing heritage sites.

In a recent example of the latter, a railway warehouse in Essen, Antwerp province, is to be converted into a brewery. “As minister for heritage, I’m always trying to improve our policy,” said minister-president Geert Bourgeois, announcing the loan. “The opportunity to obtain a cheap heritage loan makes becoming the owner of a listed monument easier, helping avoid long-term vacancy and run-down buildings, in order to protect our valuable heritage.”

The government of Flanders has a long waiting list of heritage projects awaiting subsidies. Existing subsidies will remain, but alternative methods of funding include loans and new taxation rules for spending on maintenance and restoration.

The loans will be open to individuals, developers, public bodies and heritage associations at an initial interest rate of 1%. Administration of the loans and applications will be handled by the Flemish Investment Fund.
Photo
: The Sint-Alfonsus church in Borgloon, Limburg, has been converted into a restaurant
©Kris Vandevorst/Flemish Heritage Agency