Latest news from No Use Empty property initiative

NUE undertaking to deliver More Affordable Homes in Folkestone

Solini Court, Dover Road, Folkestone

A Local Property Developer has added a further 11  Affordable Homes to his property portfolio with Solini Court nearing completion.

NUE launched an affordable homes project in 2012 in response to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) Affordable Homes Programme (2012-15) and delivered 42 units.

With no new HCA funds being available for empty properties KCC made additional funds available post 2015 to continue to assist with making homes available for local people at affordable rents.

With additional financial support from Shepway District Council’s No Use Empty Plus fund – a secured  loan (5 years) to cover the refurbishment costs was provided.

This was on condition that the property was made available at an affordable rent (80% of the market rent) and managed by a registered provider for an agreed 5 year period.

The rent is guaranteed for that period of time and a management fee does apply.

The property was  officially handed to AmicusHorizon to manage during Empty Homes Week .


The property is situated in a mixed residential and commercial locality close to the town centre. The building dates from around 1900 and previous uses include warehousing and more recently as a funeral directors. The site was empty for 2 years and suffering from internal damage caused by a leaking roof and burst pipes. The site was also a favourite location for anti-social behaviour.

Having delivered successful smaller projects with the help of NUE, the local property developer approached NUE to seek financial support if he could acquire the site and obtain planning permission for change of use including the provision of 11 self contained flats.

An agreement in principle was reached and following the successful purchase and approval from the local council a contract was soon in place.

There are now 6 x 1 bedroom units, 3 x 3 bedroom units and 2 x 2 bedroom units.

Wider Regeneration

This project complements the wider regeneration aspirations for Folkestone. It is directly opposite a £7 million project now underway to create a new 1,000 square metre multi-storey skate park, which is being funded by Sir Roger De Haan’s charitable trust, which should be completed by the end of 2017. Access to the skate park will be heavily subsidised so young people from the area have a safe place to play.

For more information click here

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 – Living by the Seaside

Botanty Road, Broadstairs

No Use Empty has supported the stunning transformation of a former empty bungalow situated in a highly sought-after location.

The property is being exclusively marketed  by Miles & Barr, Canterbury Request Details

You can take a Video Tour of the property!

A four bedroom detached double fronted bungalow on a corner plot which has been extended and refurbished to a very high standard.  The property offers superb accommodation with light and spacious rooms with contemporary styling and an impressive open-plan living space incorporating a luxury modern kitchen with high-quality work surfaces and integrated appliances.

There are four bedrooms, one with an en-suite shower room, a Jack n’ Jill shower room for bedrooms two and three and an amazing family bathroom with the latest fittings including a freestanding bath, walk-in shower cubicle, mirror television and floor to ceiling porcelain tiles.

Externally there is a good sized garden on a corner plot with Indian Sandstone paths and patio and a garage accessed from the rear.

Local developer Scott Widdows of South Eastern Homes has worked with NUE to bring several long term empty derelict properties back into use as much needed quality accommodation.

Botany Bay is is the northernmost of seven bays in Broadstairs. It features chalk cliffs and is a popular tourist location.

NUE celebrating National Empty Homes Week

National Empty Homes Week

Empty Homes Week is all about community-led organisations, local authorities and other interested bodies holding events and putting out information to celebrate their achievements in bringing empty homes back into use.

NUE are pleased to welcome Helen Williams,  Chief Executive of Empty Homes to Kent to showcase our recent projects, which will also be featured on this site this week.

Now heading towards a 12th Year (2017), No Use Empty (NUE) continues to play a key role in returning long term empty properties back into and actively promoting the case for making the most of empty properties to meet housing needs.

Steve Grimshaw, Programme Manager presented NUE at the annual Scottish Empty Homes Conference  Sharing Successes and Filling the Gaps.

NUE have also contributed to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing and Planning  debates (formed July).  This coalition of MPs and Peers from across the political parties has one main ambition: to support the delivery of more good quality homes across the UK.

The UK faces a severe housing crisis. Tackling it requires pro-active and coordinated thinking that cuts across political and professional divisions, and develops holistic and workable solutions.

NUE offers part of the solution in the form of short term secured loans to assist with bringing long term empty properties back into use.

We have already added the conversion of long term empty commercial and industrial properties to residential homes, as well as an affordable housing partnership to our repertoire.

Furthermore, we have established a closer partnership with Shepway District Council to introduce the No Use Empty Plus top up loan fund. Shepway have provided an extra £800,000 to the fund and we anticipate extending this arrangement during 2017/18.

Since its inception in 2005, NUE has grown to incorporate all 12 district councils and four West of England Councils including Bristol City Council as well as providing a template for the Welsh Government’s empty homes schemes “Houses Into Homes”.

NUE Looking Ahead

We already have a growing list of potential projects for 2017 following another demanding year for loans.

We have an ambition to achieve 5,000 empty properties back into use by March 2017.

We will continue to work with our partners and seek out opportunities to bring long term empty properties back into use as residential accommodation.


NUE apartments on parade

Marine Parade, Folkestone

No Use Empty has supported the stunning redevelopment on a Grade II listed long-term empty building in Folkestone that was once the home to Army Intelligence during the First World War.

You can read more about the history on Page 13 in our Bumper Edition newsletter

The property was also featured in the BBC World War I Programme The Spies Who Loved Folkestone  which includes an interview with the new owner (10 mins 22 secs in).

Phase I of the project is now complete. Six apartments each offering two bedrooms are currently being marketed for sale with PurpleBricks.

Lt Col. Neame (Property Developer) who has successfully worked with NUE on a previous project said: “I’m excited to be working with NUE again on the Marine Parade project. I had no knowledge of the rich British Military history of the site, but its story has added to the importance of bringing it back into use”.

The finish quality of the residences is to a high specification with attractive detail throughout. The building is arranged over five floors with commanding uninterrupted views overlooking the English Channel. The building has been completely re-modelled with new internal staircases to ensure maximum use of the available space for these desirable properties.

Steve Grimshaw, programme manager for NUE at KCC said: “Projects such as these which have been financially supported with loans from both NUE and Shepway District Council ensures that we are taking a very real joined up approach which will complement the planned redevelopment of Folkestone seafront.”



National Empty Homes Week


No Use Empty participating in NATIONAL EMPTY HOMES WEEK

The 2016 National Empty Homes Week will take place from Monday 28th November.

Empty Homes Week is all about community-led organisations, local authorities and other interested bodies holding events and putting out information to celebrate their achievements in bringing empty homes back into use.

They can also set out their future plans and the case for making the most of empty properties to meet housing needs. More details can be found on the Empty Homes website.

No Use Empty will be running  daily news stories on our website showcasing projects we are supporting as well as news about a new loan product.

NUE are pleased to announce that Helen Williams, Chief Executive of the national campaigning charity Empty Homes will be joining us on the 29th November to visit several of our projects.

A short promotional film will be made and uploaded to our website during National Empty Homes Week.

About Empty Homes

Empty Homes is an independent charitable organisation campaigning for more empty homes to be brought into use for the benefit of those in housing need

Empty Homes was established in 1992 to try to ensure that empty homes in England are brought back into use for those in housing need.  We have built our reputation not only as a campaigning charity, but also in developing practical ideas on how to bring empty homes back into use.  These ideas have been adopted as national policy and also local practice.  Our track record of campaigning has put the charity in a good position to influence decision makers and to do more to tackle the waste of empty homes in England.

Our focus is on ensuring empty homes are brought back into use for those priced out of decent housing across England or in housing need, for example due to disability or  long-term health problems.

Our influence has been enhanced over two decades through building our reputation as the ‘go to’ place for media comment as well as through our thorough analysis of the causes of empty homes and what works in bringing them back into use.

For more information please Email :


Affordable Homes from Empty Commercial Spaces

Research shows the way for conversions

Research funded by the Nationwide Foundation and conducted by a team from Empty Homes [Agency] makes a strong case for delivering affordable housing through conversions of empty commercial spaces.

The research report has two great strengths. The first is that if offers a clear, succinct, but nevertheless comprehensive overview of the whole field of converting empty commercial property to housing, which does not shirk from addressing some of the issues that can arise. The second is that it contains a rich sample of case studies, featuring a wide range of partners, buildings, property markets and geographical locations.

The report is clear about the desirability of avoiding conversions where the commercial space still has a useful economic life ahead of it. It cannot be held responsible for those cases where there is a loss of employment opportunities thanks to the introduction by the government of an unduly relaxed planning regime for commercial space (which also undermines the delivery of affordable housing).

Practitioners can be grateful to the Empty Homes team for producing the research and to Nationwide Foundation for funding it. Affordable-homes-from-empty-commercial-spaces.

NUE – Increases amount of loan available in Shepway

Shepway District Council

Shepway District Council is a founding member of the award winning No Use Empty scheme, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month. The initiative, managed by Kent County Council, offers interest free loans to the owners of empty homes to help with refurbishment costs.

In recognition of the success of the scheme to date, the work that still has to be done and the significant negative impact that empty homes have on residents, Shepway District Council is increasing the loan available from £25,000 to £40,000 for each home bought back into use.

Cllr Alan Ewart-James, Shepway’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Empty properties blight our streets. The No Use Empty initiative has been a fantastic success in bringing properties back into use, providing much-needed homes and ridding neighbourhoods of eyesores.alanej

“Shepway District Council has set aside £400,000 in this year’s budget to top-up the loans offered by Kent County Council, giving owners access to up to £40,000 for every home they bring back into use. It’s just part of our targeted programme of direct action to reduce the numbers of empty homes in Shepway.”

Empty homes are often in a poor state of repair, which means that no one wants to live in them. This situation becomes worse as everyday repairs are not done and the property becomes more dilapidated.


The Empty Homes Conference 2016 – Birmingham, 24th May

A Date for your diary

No Use Empty are proud to support the 2016 National Empty Homes Conference of Tuesday, 24th May, 2016.

The Conference, organised by the Empty Homes Network, will be held at Maple House in Birmingham.

Guest speakers will include:

  • Helen Williams, Chief Executive of  the Empty Homes Agency, will explore the issues and opportunities facing us following the 2015 election, with empty homes no longer figuring as an explicit part of the official programme of government. She’ll also respond to issues raised by delegates.
  • Andrew Lavender  will again offer his ever-popular Practitioner Surgery where he is guaranteed to be able to answer case queries around enforcement, loans, grants, and, come to think of it, just about anything you care to mention. To meet popular demand, we’re expecting two surgeries this year.
  • Harvey Ellingham of Home Improvement Guarantee will describe how this innovative scheme can help overcome the fears of reluctant empty home owners who need to deal with builders in order to get repairs done.
  • Steve Grimshaw of Kent County Council will give us the latest information about the Kent No Use Empty initiative, which celebrated its 10th anniversay last year. He’ll pay particular attention to the key lessons of the loans scheme and the delivery of affordable housing via HCA grant funding.


Collage of previous conferencesTimetable for the day

  • 09.00 to 10.00  – Registration and refreshments
  • 10.00 to 13.00  –  Morning session
  • 13.00 to 13.50  –  Lunch
  • 13.50 to 16.45  –  Afternoon session

Programme for the day






National Empty Homes Week
Monday 30th November through to Sunday 6th December.

Empty Homes Week is all about community-led organisations, local authorities and others holding events and putting out information to celebrate local achievements in bringing empty homes back into use and also to set out their future plans and the case for making the most of empty properties to meet housing needs.

Since its launch in 2005, No Use Empty (NUE), a collaboration between Kent County Council (KCC) and the twelve district councils across the county, has helped to bring over 4,100 empty homes back into use helping to regenerate deprived urban wards and stimulating local housing markets.

KCC celebrated 10 years of No Use Empty – the award winning and longest running Empty Property initiative in the UK – on 2 December 2015 with an event at County Hall  to look back on our achievements to date and hear about how we will be taking No Use Empty forward into 2016 and beyond!

NUE were pleased to welcome Helen Williams, Chief Executive of the national campaigning charity Empty Homes, as guest speaker.

Find out what Helen and our guests had to say after the event.

Our new Bumper Edition Newsletter to celebrate 10 Years of No Use Empty is now on line.

Let Empty Homes know more about what you are planning for the next Empty Homes week, or to discuss your plans please