There were 101 fewer empty homes in the Dover district in 2017 according to the latest figures from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The number of homes left empty for more than six months in the district has been falling steadily from a peak of 952 in 2009 to 523 in 2017.
Thirty properties were brought back into use in 2017/18 with the help of Kent County Council’s ‘No Use Empty’ scheme. This provides property owners with interest-free loans from £25,000 to £175,000 to bring empty homes back into use as quality accommodation. Dover District Council supports the ‘No Use Empty’ initiative and offers an additional £15,000 ‘top-up’ loan making a total of £40,000 per unit. All loans are secured and repayable after three years.
£4.8 million has been invested in the Dover district through the ‘No Use Empty’ scheme since 2005 along with a further £5.5 million of private funds. Dover District Council recently brought three empty properties on Folkestone Road back into use, creating nine new interim homes.
Steve Grimshaw, Strategic Programme Manager for No Use Empty, said: "We currently have a steady pipeline of projects in Dover coming on line in the town centre and Castle Street."
Cllr Pauline Beresford, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "No one likes seeing homes left empty for long periods of time when, with a little help, they can be brought back into use to help solve the housing shortage.
"We’re delighted to support the ‘No Use Empty’ initiative which is having a real impact by providing practical and financial support to bring empty properties back into use as family homes."