A new home in Wingham

With the assistance from a NUE loan this project has recently been completed in the village of Wingham. The owner has restored this circa 18th century mid terrace home to include many of the original features and has been renovated to a high standard. The accommodation comprises of the lounge with a feature fireplace, modern fitted kitchen, spacious bedroom, family bathroom with claw foot roll top bath and separate shower. To the rear for the property is a well-proportioned garden with a decked seating area and lawn.

The property is now for sale. Details can be found at Miles and Barr

NUE Ashford project striding to the finish

Former British Volunteer Pub, Ashford

Our first loan supported project in New Street, Ashford is taking great strides to the finish line.

The former public house situated close to the centre of Ashford had remained boarded up for more than 12 months.

It was in fair condition but with a hole in the roof it has been partially exposed to the elements causing additional internal damage.

New owners Galahad Developments Limited obtained planning permission to convert the building to create 6 apartments (4 x 1 bedroom and 2 x 2 bedroom).

An interest bearing NUE loan was approved with a target project completion date of 9 months.

Parking will be provided for approximately 12 vehicles. The accommodation is arranged across two main floors. The ground floor has access to the front and rear

We will be updating this page with further images in the new year.

NUE – Gravesham Success

Gravesham Borough Council – “Empty property scheme hailed a success”

Edwin Street, Gravesend

A GRAVESHAM property is proving to be another success story of Kent County Council’s No Use Empty (NUE) Scheme.

NUE loaned property owner Mrs Devinder Dhami £25k to get her four-bedroom, privately-owned empty property in Edwin Street refurbished and rented out.

It’s taken just over three months to complete the refurbishment, which has included roof works, damp proofing, a new kitchen and bathroom, new radiators, new boiler, re-rendering, plastering, painting and re-carpeting.

The council had written to the owner to request an update on her plans to return the property to use, as it had been empty for more the six months. Mrs Dhami and her 36-year-old son Andy were keen to take advantage of the interest-free loan which was offered through the NUE scheme to the owners of privately owned dwellings.

Andy who project managed the works said: “It’s been brilliant and without this loan none of this would have been possible. Working with Gravesham council and Kent County Council has been great and the process has been really easy. Both have gone above and beyond to help me get the property to how it is now.”

The plan is to now let the mid-terrace property out and find a tenant.

Back in April Gravesham Borough Council was confirmed as the best performing authority in Kent for the lowest number of empty properties.

There are now currently 680 empty properties in Gravesham (November 2015) with just 193 of these being recorded as long-term empty. This means they have been empty for six months or longer.

The overall figure of 680 represents the lowest number of vacant properties in Kent.

Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Anthony Pritchard, said: “We’ve been really proactive and this house in Edwin Street is a great example of what can be done if you take up the option of a loan. The loan scheme is integral to our service offering and forms part of our general discussion with owners who site the lack of finance as a reason why their property remains empty.”


NUE Swale – Dressed For Success

Barrow Grove, Sittingbourne

Our latest completed project in the Swale District has already been snapped up.

No Use Empty provided a loan of £25,000 to the new owners of this property in May of this year.

The 3 bedroomed terraced property, built in the 1950’s had been empty for 9 years prior to this and crying out for modernisation.

NUE worked with the new owners, guided them through the process and spoke with the 1st Lender to ensure that the additional funds required could be secured by way of a charge.

With everything in place it was all systems go.

No sooner had we released funds, the owner was back in touch much earlier than we expected to show off their project which we are extremely pleased with.

A full refurbishment including new: ceilings, doors, electrics, heating system, kitchen, bathroom.

The owners are already looking out for another long term empty property to bring to NUE for consideration for support.


Wood Street, Swanley

In the semi-rural village of Swanley, situated within the Green Belt area of Sevenoaks, there were three bungalows at the end of a terrace of ten properties in Wood Street. Situated near a conservation area they remained empty for nearly ten years having fallen into a state of disrepair.

As with many long term empties, overgrown gardens, rats and fly-tipping, were having a severe effect on the local area and adjoining property. Numerous complaints about the eyesore properties from local residents resulted in a petition which attracted the attention of local Councillors, gaining local press coverage leaving Sevenoaks District Council to take firm action.

The owner refused to remedy the situation and in 2008 was convicted for setting mantraps at the properties and storing unlicensed ammunition in a garage on the site, leading him to serve a prison sentence. With continued arson and fire damage on the property, the Council made every attempt
to work with the owner while he served his sentence, providing advice and assistance. Eventually the owner agreed to renovate the properties upon his release and a programme of action was agreed as a way forward. However the agreement was not kept by the owner, leaving the Council with no other option but enforcement action.

The Council served a Section 79 Notice under the Building Act 1984. This required the owner to either repair or demolish the properties within two months or the Council would do the job for them and recover the costs from him. Fortunately, an interested party came forward and purchased the properties.

Working closely with the Council and No Use Empty with a desire to restore the three properties and bring them back into use. A No Use Empty loan of £25,000 has been conditionally approved on each of the three properties, together with a Council grant of £10,000 on the first property to be renovated.

Having obtained planning permission for the works, the project is now complete and the properties are available to rent.

After a lot of hard work, the project is complete and providing much needed accommodation. The owner of the property, said: “The No Use Empty Initiative has been invaluable to us as without it we would not have been able to progress the project as quickly as we did.”

What a great good news story!

London Road, Dover

No Use Empty provided a 3 year interest free loan of £175,000 contributing to Phase 2 of the project. The overall project costs are in the region of £1M and the transformation of a once wasted resource in a prominent position is a must see.

This is a Grade II listed semi-detached property of traditional construction, over 100 years old, comprising three stories with a basement. The property has a small front area, but comes with a large rear garden which will be available to tenants. To retain the character of the building, some of the original features have been recreated with moulds taken from original fixtures. It is in a prominent position on a main road within walking distance of local shops, close to town centre and public transport services

Following the closure of the former Youth Hostel, the property remained empty for several years and became a magnet for vandals, used as a dumping ground by fly tippers and became a haunt for drug addicts. The new owners Vernon Investments Limited were granted planning permission for the change of use and conversion to 9 self-contained flats, which are now being marketed for rent with agents Geerings&Colyer, with three already reserved.

For further information, please scroll over the image below:

The property is also of historic interest. From 1890 to 1960 the property belonged to the Koettlitz family and was used as a surgery. The Polar Bear, fitted with a lamp holder in its paw which now resides in Dover Museum, once stood in the London Road surgery and was gifted to the museum by a relative of Reginald Koettlitz who spent 3 years in the Arctic.


Athelstan Road, Cliftonville

athelstan1Full planning permission and building control was granted to convert the building.  Apart from a few structural walls to take down, the conversion is within the current footprint, with no extensions, but does require sound/fire proofing, utilities reinstated and external decoration.

The property is now nearing completion, with several of the units already let. In addition to this the owner has separately funded the refurbishment of 18-20 Athelstan Road which when completed will see a further 8 units of accommodation being made available to rent soon.

The owner has engaged with G&B Partnership to manage and rent out the units.

Athelstan Road is now looking vastly different to how it did 12 months ago.

Whilst there are a couple of other empty properties in close proximity – our Initiative seems to have triggered more activity.  Not only are other owners “sprucing up” their properties but we are also finalising details with another applicant to completely refurbish two further properties in Athelstan Road, which have been subjected to vandalism and have been partly stripped out internally leaving the property in a poor condition.

The Bakery, St Peters, Broadstairs

Planning permission has been granted to transform a former bakery in the village of St Peters, Broadstairs – end of terrace two-storey building (circa 1850 with an extension added in the 1960’s) to 1 x 2 bedroom cottage (lounge/diner kitchen, cloakroom/WC and landing) and 1 x 1 bed flat (lounge/diner/kitchen, bathroom/WC) and 1 office unit (kitchen area and cloakroom).

The property has been empty for several years. Surrounding properties are mixed commercial/residential with a church and large supermarket with car parking diagonally opposite. No Use Empty supports the residential refurbishment costs only. The applicant Urban Developments UK Limited will re-locate to the office space on completion of project and intends to create 2 jobs.  The residential accommodation will be let.

A loan to let of £50,000 has been applied for towards the total costs of £109k which will cover demolition costs, all groundwork including drainage and services and the construction of 2 new units and an office suite.  The applicant will deliver the project and works have commenced work.

Phase One of the project is scheduled for completion April 2011. A selection of works undertaken to date are shown above.

For more infomration on services provided by Urban Surveying. please visit their website via the link below.


Metropole Hotel, Cannon Street, Dover

metropoleA former historic hotel in the heart of Dover has been converted into flats to rent following the completion of a £1.5million urban renewal project and is being highlighted as a good example of what can be done under the No Use Empty Initiative, which aims to bring back empty properties back into use.

The former Metropole Hotel now provides 28 one and two bedroom flats. The ground floor consists of a pub and retail outlets, but these are entirely separate from the flats, which have their own entrance to the building.

Built in 1895, the building has had a number of uses over the years, including a cinema and a bar, but had remained derelict for over 15 years becoming an eyesore attracting squatters and vandals.

metropole_before The top three storeys of the building have been given a new lease of life following the successful completion of a renovation project by Lilydale Properties and new owners, Town and Country Housing Group. This has ensured that one of Dover’s landmark buildings is restored and helping to revitalise the town centre as a place to live.

The project was boosted by an Empty Properties Grant of more than £200,000 from Dover District Council as it was uneconomical to refurbish/renovate the hotel, due to the extent of the works needed in order to make the scheme viable. The first tenants moved in shortly after completion. The project is an excellent example of how intervention by a local authority can help turn an empty building into much needed housing for the local community.

Town and Country spokeswoman Wendy Bishop said it was fitting that a hotel where excited travellers would once spend their last night before departing for the continent was now providing a place where people could build their futures.

Harold Road, Cliftonville

haroldRd1Planning Permission and Building Regulations were approved for the erection of a three- storey extension following the demolition of the existing extensions to facilitate 8 x 2 Bedroom flats, with a life expectancy of 25 years.

This project had already commenced over a year ago and was known to No Use Empty. At that time funds were in place to see the project through without our support.

The original project went through a tendering process and was subject to an independent Valuation Report, which reflected that whilst this is a complex development (retention of existing front façade) there is a relatively high construction cost.

The project was closely monitored throughout and savings made without compromising the overall finished project.

However due to a high number of mortgage lenders reducing their loan to value ratios due to the current financial climate,  the funding available to the applicant was effectively capped at the reduced rate and funds were quickly exhausted, leaving the project in a state of limbo.

However, with the No Use Empty Initiative willing to loan up to 90% of the property value, we were able to discuss with all relevant parties a way forward to ensure that the project would be completed.

Having successfully met the requirements of the application process, a loan was provided to cover only the value of the remaining project costs, £135,000, much to the joy of the applicant.

Their appreciation was shown in an e-mail sent in December 2009,
“Thank you so much Steve (Grimshaw) for all the work you have done to help us achieve this loan and that thank you also goes to Andrew Lavender and Mike Thompson”.