Folkestone project that transforms empty properties into new homes wins national acclaim

Contributed by editor on May 18, 2018 - 06:55 AM

A project that transforms empty properties into new homes and which  Folkestone and Hythe council is a partner has won national acclaim.

Kent County Council’s (KCC) No Use Empty programme won the Chartered Institute of Housing’s national award for its ‘outstanding approach to innovation’at an awards ceremony in London – beating eight other finalists, including a scheme from the Mayor of London.

Cllr Alan Ewart-James, Cabinet Member for Housing at Folkestone & Hythe District Council, - one of the No Use Empty partners - said the award was well-deserved.

“As partners, we are obviously delighted that No Use Empty has secured national recognition. It has been a huge success and has helped bring hundreds of empty buildings in our district back into use.

“Our own No Use Empty Plus scheme, which offers loans of up to £40,000 to boost those offered by KCC, is also a winner, securing the innovation award at last year’s Empty Homes awards. It shows that the principles behind the project are right – and successful.”

Sean Holden, KCC’s Deputy Cabinet Member – Economic Development, said: “There are many benefits in bringing empty properties back into use. It not only provides much-needed new homes by giving owners the help they may need for renovation and repair, but gets rid of local eyesores and makes places more attractive.”

One of the latest local successes has been the renovation of the former Westbrook Preparatory School in Shorncliffe Road, Folkestone, which is being converted into 11 new self-contained flats by Browns Construction.      

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