Latest news from No Use Empty property initiative

NUE Supports accommodation for vulnerable adults

Boxley Road, Maidstone

Accommodation YES has been supplying accommodation for vulnerable adults in Maidstone for the last 30 years. However, this building, which has been converted into 8 self-contained flats, is different from those of other domiciliary support agencies, because 239 Boxley Road has been designed to be energy efficient and environmentally forward thinking. This building is CO2 free by the use of the most effective, up-to-date, sustainable energy technology, utilising solar panels and an air source heat pump.

The use of an air source heat pump will bring each of the residents’ heating costs down to as little as £3 per week, which is substantially below the national average for each person of £25 (according to whilst ensuring NO CO2 emissions in our community.

This project has been funded with the assistance of Kent County Council’s ‘No Use Empty Homes’ scheme, and grant-funding was also received from LoCASE to fund the additional insulation required to effectively run the heat pump.


£6M loan fund recycled 4x

NUE has recycled its £6m loan fund four times, coupled with private sector leverage, investment reaches £53m

It’s been 10 years since NUE offered short term secured interest free loans across Kent in response to removing one of the barriers when it comes to bringing long term empty properties back into use – the availability of finance.

Kent County Council ploughed £6m into the loan fund which has now been recycled four times. The initial funding was defrayed by Year 5, but with many of the loans being repaid earlier than expected due to the ability to re-finance with a traditional lender on a completed project with an increased asset value, we have been able to accelerate our pace of delivery and quadruple the value of the initial investment in the following 5 years.

Private sector leverage of £28m has increased investment to over £53m.

NUE has supported  960 units in total of which 640 have been newly created thanks to the conversion of larger sized commercial properties offering residential accommodation.

This means that new Council Tax receipts are also being generated.

  • Demand for loans remains high and thanks to additional funding from Dover, Folkestone & Hythe and Tunbridge Wells our loan fund has been topped up!



Kent achieves greatest reduction in empty homes in past year

National Empty Homes Week: Kent achieves UK’s greatest reduction in empty homes in past year

Kent was UK’s best performing County Council as empty homes provide ‘second front’ against housing shortage

Latest national data on empty homes has revealed that NUE, which was launched by Kent County Council (KCC)  in 2005 as a means of returning Kent’s 9,000 long-term empty homes, is the UK’s best-performing County Council returning 506 long term empty homes to use in 2017, resulting in a net decrease of 221.

The statistics are released to coincide with National Empty Homes Week (15 October – 22 October), which aims to raise awareness of the important role existing unoccupied and abandoned properties can have in meeting the UK’s housing shortage.

In total the initiative has returned over 5,500 homes to use through the provision of £25 million in loans, which have helped leverage a figure of up to £28 million.

The figures for 2016-17 demonstrate that the long-standing initiative continues to have a positive impact and Kent continues to lead the way on returning empty homes to use:

  • Kent was one of only nine English county councils to make a net numerical reduction in unoccupied properties between 2016-2017. 18  – authorities in the UK reported a net increase.
  • The county’s largest reductions in empty homes were seen in Canterbury, Dover, Sevenoaks, Folkestone and Thanet.
  • Over the last decade, due to No Use Empty’s interventions, net long-term vacant dwellings in Kent have declined by a third (32.8%) across the county from 7,112 to 4,778.

Mark Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Kent County Council said:

“With affordable housing demand being so high, NUE’s success story really takes on a whole new importance for our county. The scheme provides a second-front in our proactive measures to tackle the housing shortage head-on. We are happy to support other local authorities who want to adopt No Use Empty as a means of delivering much-needed new housing.”

*Latest figures exclude Bedfordshire; Cheshire; Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; Durham; Northumberland; Shropshire and Wiltshire.

Empty Homes Conference 2018 – 18th October 2018

The 2018 National Empty Homes Conference will be held on Thursday, 18th October 2018. 

And, as always, the programme features a wide range of informative sessions and great speakers.

The Conference will be held at Maple House, in Birmingham.

To make a booking please contact Claire Hope: 
[email protected] 
07917 794589



  • 09.00 to 10.00 Registration and breakfast
  • 10.00 to 12.50  Morning Sessions
  • 12.50 to 13.10   Empty Homes Awards
  • 13.10 to 14.05   Lunch
  • 14.05 to 16.45   Afternoon Sessions

No Use Empty will present the Practitioner of the Year Award.





Westbrook House, Folkestone – 8 new homes available now for rent

Former school building: Westbrook House, Shorncliffe Road, Folkestone returned to use

Thanks to a combination of private funds and loans from NUE (an interest free loan, a top up loan from Folkestone and Hythe district council and an interest bearing loan), a local family owned company acquired the property in 2017 and have transformed the former school building which closed in 2008 and remained empty whilst a number of planning proposals came and went.

The property was a magnet for anti-social behaviour. But now in just under a year this building has been restored to a very high specification offering contemporary living combined with many original features.

A total of 8 apartments are now available each one benefits from gas central heating and has one allocate car parking space.

For example the two bedroom apartment offers a modern fitted kitchen, open plan living, French doors leading to garden, master bedroom with en-suite and a second bedroom with en-suite.

This stunning executive style apartment is conveniently located close to Folkestone West Station and its high speed rail links to London and M20 connections.

The apartments are being marketed for rent and further details can be found on the  Motis Estate  website.

All funds loaned under NUE have already been repaid and the local developer is on the look out for a new project and is keen to work with NUE again ensuring his team are kept busy and able to provide work opportunities.

Watch the NUE Promotional video which includes footage of this project and an interview with the local developer and our wider regeneration work in Folkestone.




Latest Property Restored – Lynton Parade, Edgar Road, Cliftonville

Lynton Parade, Edgar Road, Cliftonville

This property had been empty for 5 years before the new owners took on the challenge to bring the property back into use with the support of No Use Empty.

Located in the heart of Cliftonville, Margate, the property now provides 4 modern apartments.

If you are looking for your first home, then one of the apartments has just come onto the market.

Neutrally decorated throughout it’s ready for you to put your own stamp on it.


For more details contact Oakwood Homes

Property includes:

  • * 3 Bedrooms including en-suite shower room with master bedroom
  • * 2 Bathrooms
  • * Fully Double Glazed
  • * Full Gas Central Heating
  •    Share of Freehold

Edgar Road – 5 Years Ago. The entire parade has now been regenerated and former empty properties are now back into use and ready for occupation.

UK Housing Awards Winners

Celebrating success – the winners all gathered    at the end of the ceremony for a group photo

No Use Empty (NUE) scooped the award for ‘Outstanding approach to regeneration’ at the UK Housing Awards event at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in central London.

The UK Housing Awards, run by Inside Housing and the Chartered Institute of Housing, is the largest and longest running awards in the sector and is now in its third decade.

Steve Grimshaw, NUE Programme Manager and Jackie Gibb, NUE Project Officer were joined by colleagues Stuart White (Dover), Iain Cobby (Folkestone & Hythe),  and Simon Doherty (Gravesham) to collect the award.

Our congratulations go to all those who entered. For more details visit Inside Housing.

Mark Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, KCC said “An incredible achievement! A huge thank you from me on your win as you know I am a great fan of NUE”.

Steve Grimshaw, NUE Programme Manager said “To receive such a prestigious national award for bringing long term empty properties back into use was a huge surprise given the competition. Well done to all those who work in partnership with NUE”.










For the love of architecture

Sensitive and passionate about Margate’s precious architectural heritage.

Read this feature to find out how this empty unloved crumbling property in Princes Street was brought back into use.

“I’d always rather repair than replace,” Sam Causer says. “That way you can enjoy and live in these buildings because they have the passage of time embedded in them.”

Bun Penny, Herne Bay

Iconic Herne Bay Bun Penny site returned to use

The Herne Bay site was previously home to the iconic Bun Penny Pub, which opened in 1899 when the pub was called the Royal Hotel. It changed name in 1972 and closed in 2011 after a devastating fire left it in a state of disrepair.

The property, which sits on the sea front, was a major eyesore to the area; its redevelopment has substantially enhanced the local sea front.

The revived Bun Penny site now comprises of a mixed use scheme made up of 14 two and three bedroom luxury apartments and a commercial unit on the ground floor.

The development has been completed to a high specification with a contemporary feel. 13 apartments have balconies and all the apartments have parking.

Kent County Council’s NUE scheme provided funding of £175,000 which was leveraged by private sector funding of £2,325,000, bringing total investment of the redevelopment project £2.5 million highest value project to date.

The apartments are being marketed for sale and further details can be found on the Right Move website.

Watch the NUE Promotional video which showcases our wider regeneration work in Herne Bay.




Dover District Council Confirms £300k for NUE

No Use Empty, the UK’s most successful empty homes initiative, sees £300,000 pledge from Dover District Council-

Award winning empty homes scheme, No Use Empty (NUE), has received a commitment of £300,000 from Dover District Council to provide top-up loans to help bring long-term empties back into use.

The pioneering scheme introduced top-up loans in 2015 and has since seen further pledges totalling £800,000 from Shepway, Tunbridge Wells, and now Dover.

The top-up loans are indicative of the success of the scheme and the importance of collaboration between local authorities.

The top-up loans will be used to support the current £4 million county wide NUE investment that has been allocated for the return of long-term empty housing stock to use and will be targeted at the wards of Castle, Maxton and Elms Vale, and Tower Hamlets.

An additional £15,000 will be added to the NUE empty loan making a total of £40,000 per unit available to unlock developments in those wards. All loans are secured and repayable after 3 years.

Steve Grimshaw, Programme Manager for No Use Empty at Kent County Council said: “No Use Empty is continually innovating to try and find the best ways to bring long-term empty homes back into use. The top-up loans are an illustration of this, and we are very encouraged to see Dover allocate a significant £300,000 to help create homes.  Currently we are seeing the Government call for commitments to provide housing for first time buyers, with NUE top-up loans we are able to provide another route to access larger scale schemes, delivering much needed housing and regeneration in Kent.”

Cllr Pauline Beresford for Dover District Council, said: “We have been part of the No Use Empty scheme since it was founded over 10 years ago, and are very happy to reaffirm our commitment to the successful scheme through the top-up loans. Bringing long-term empty homes back into use is a key method of driving regeneration, one which not only provides new homes but also new sources of employment and a sense of community. Dover District has a wide range of regeneration taking place and delivering homes is a fundamental part of that wider ongoing plan.”