A long-running empty homes scheme run by Kent County Council has brought back 3,027 properties into use.
The No Use Empty initiative, launched in 2005, has returned this year with a record of 600 long-term vacant homes back in use, which is the most successful such scheme across the UK.
Throughout 2013 the council has approved loans that total £2.5m which makes it a recored year for investment. The scheme has also received a total investment of £25m, a third of which comes from the council's empty homes loan fund. To date the scheme has delivered new homes at a cost of just over £8,000 per unit, which is a fraction of the cost of new-build properties, reports 24dash.
The 3,000 home milestone is particularly significant as it meant that the scheme has successfully tackled a third of the home that stood empty when the initiative was launched.
Mark Dance, the council's cabinet member for economic development, said: “Empty and unused properties can depreciate the value of adjacent properties by up to 18%, so this is an issue that goes way beyond bricks-and-mortar and impacts the wider social and economic wellbeing of an area. No Use Empty has created 3,000 new homes to date, which not only represents a great return on investment, it has had a pronounced regenerative impact on some of the County's more deprived areas.”
Steve Grimshaw, NUE's regeneration project manager, said: “Returning a third of the homes that lay empty when we launched the scheme in 2005 is a significant marker for us. This has been a bumper year for No Use Empty, as we have launched our affordable homes partnership with Amicus Horizon, as well as issuing our biggest loan to date, which shows the initiative is evolving whilst still achieving its goals. We are always looking for new projects to undertake so urge owners of empty properties to get in touch.”
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