Derelict site revitalised thanks to 'No Use Empty' scheme

A site in Folkestone which stood derelict for 14 years has been brought back to life thanks to the award-winning No Use Empty scheme.

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The land - situated at the junction of Princess Street and Myrtle Road - has been developed into a three-storey block of eight two-bedroom apartments, having last been used by a plumbing and heating merchant over a decade ago.

Livingston Homes Limited was awarded funding from the No Use Empty scheme run by Kent County Council (KCC), and also accessed a top-up loan from Folkestone & Hythe District Council (F&HDC) to assist with the project.

No Use Empty offers a range of secured loan products to encourage developers to bring vacant properties back into use for residential purposes.

Folkestone & Hythe District Council's No Use Empty Plus scheme offers a top-up loan of £15,000 per unit to developers, in addition to the £25,000 available through the main scheme.

No Use Empty is a fantastic initiative which is really helping to regenerate Folkestone, improve the area, and provide much-needed homes. All of the homes are affordable rent and will be let to applicants on the council's housing list. One of the apartments has been built to a fully wheelchair accessible standard. Livingstone Homes Limited has said this project would not have been delivered in just over one year if it hadn't been for this scheme.Cllr David Godfrey, F&HDC Cabinet Member for Housing, Transport and Special Projects

Mark Dance, KCC's Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said the scheme was making a real difference.

This project has been made possible because of the finance available through the No Use Empty scheme. I believe bringing long-term empty properties back into use is key to driving regeneration, which not only provides homes but also new sources of income and a sense of community. Such was the standard of the development F&HDC has acquired the site, adding eight new homes to its housing stock - all thanks to working in partnership with each other.Mark Dance, KCC Cabinet Member for Economic Development

Meanwhile, the No Use Empty Commercial scheme - which provides short-term secured loans to return empty commercial properties to use for alternative commercial or mixed-use purposes - has also recently been launched.

For more information on the No Use Empty scheme, including how to report empty properties and how to apply for loans, visit www.no-use-empty.org.uk

Date published: 27 September 2019