TAMS application: How long do I need to give myself when applying for a grant?

With the coronavirus, or Covid-19 as it is otherwise known, casting a huge cloud of uncertainty over the world, it is hard to think about anything else.

However, for those who are thinking about applying for the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS), it is time to get cracking on before it closes at the end of this year.

The scheme is intended to provide farmers with grant aid to improve and/or build a specific range of farm buildings or purchase equipment that may benefit their farm businesses.

For many farmers, who haven’t applied for the grant yet, probably thought, or at least hoped, that it would be extended past 2020. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the chances of the scheme being extended look increasingly unlikely.

To find out more about the whole TAMS application process, AgriLand caught up with Aidan Kelly – an agricultural buildings advisor – from Agri Design and Planning Services (ADPS).

He explained: “The outbreak of the coronavirus has cast a huge shadow over the country and it could have a huge effect on farmers who are planning to build sheds or parlours in the coming months.

“If county councils close up shop for a couple of weeks, it will end up pushing back applications and farmers may or may not get their applications approved in time to avail of the grant.”

Time scale

According to Aidan, the first thing you need if you are applying for a grant is full planning permission or a planning exemption cert from your local county council.

He explained: “The planning permission process will take up to 13 weeks to complete.

“It will take eight weeks for the permission with a grant of the condition and a further five weeks for the final grant of permission, which is required for the TAMS II grant application.

This is a total of 13 weeks for planning; however, I would advise farmers to give themselves two-to-three weeks for the design time.

“If you take both the planning process and the design time you need to give yourself at least 16 weeks and that’s if everything goes according to plan.

“Furthermore, if your planning application requires further information, this could add another four-to-eight weeks to the process. So, to be on the safe side, I would advise farmers to give themselves six months for the application process.”

Timing of planning permission

The TAMS II scheme opens in tranches, with the current one set to close on April 24.

Aidan explained: “Even though you may have received your planning, you may still have to wait a further four months for a tranch to close.

The process of receiving planning and then the grant could take up to eight months. It may take another month before you are allowed to start. In reality, you need to allow 12 months at a minimum before you could start your proposed building.

“The cost of planning permission to the local county council is a maximum of €300 and a maximum of €900 for retention applications in agriculture. There are also development contrition charges to be considered in certain county councils.

“Most councils allow the first 500m² free from this charge; however, a retention application may be exposed to this total charge. The charge can range from €6/m² for the Kilkenny County Council to €3/m² for the Laois County Council. Each county council has different charges. Cork County Council has no charges as of yet,” Aidan concluded.