Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Pledges £100k to Empty Homes Scheme

 Tunbridge Wells Borough Council pledges £100,000 to No Use Empty

Award winning empty homes scheme, No Use Empty (NUE), has received a commitment of £100,000 from Tunbridge Wells Borough 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, Dover and now Tunbridge Wells.

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 NUE investment that has been allocated for the return of long-term empty housing stock to use.

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.

Councillor Lynne Weatherly, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s  Cabinet member with responsibility for Communities and Wellbeing , said: “The No Use Empty initiative has been a great success. We’ve seen dilapidated properties and long-term empty houses brought back into use, this is a good way of increasing available homes and improving the street scene for neighbours where a property has become an eyesore.”

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 Tunbridge Wells allocate additional funds of £100,000 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.”