The properties were in a very poor structural and decorative state when they were purchased by the Council in 2015. An extensive programme of works by Kent-based contractor, Perfect Homes, included:
- Demolishing dilapidated extensions to the rear of the buildings to create light wells to the basement units
- Upgrading roof timbers, removing unsupported chimney breasts and extensive timber repair work throughout
- Waterproofing the basements, and thermally insulating floors, walls, and roofs
- Installation of new double glazed UPVC windows, shower rooms and fitted kitchens
- Renewing all services to the building and fully sound-proofing the units to meet current Building Regulations.
The properties will be added to the Council’s housing stock and managed on its behalf by East Kent Housing.
Cllr Keith Morris, Leader of Dover District Council, said: "Providing decent interim accommodation for those that find themselves unintentionally homeless is a high priority for the Council.
"We’ve reduced the number of people in B&B accommodation by 50% in the past six months which is now at its lowest level since 2015. These new units will help us to reduce the numbers even more.
"The properties have been completed to a high standard and will be welcomed by those who need a place to stay in the short-term before a more permanent solution to their housing needs can be found.
"It’s an excellent example of how the Council is addressing the challenges of homelessness by providing cost-effective interim accommodation that reduces the burden to the tax payer of temporary, and often unsuitable, B&B accommodation.
"As well as providing new homes, it’s also an investment in Folkestone Road preventing three buildings from falling into a state of disrepair and serving to encourage further investment in neighbouring properties."
In 2017/18 a total of 30 empty homes were brought back into use in the Dover district with support from Kent County Council’s ‘No Use Empty’ scheme. This provides interest free loans of up to £25,000 which can be topped up by a further £15,000 from Dover District Council, providing a total of £40,000 worth of support to help bring empty properties back into use.
Dover District Council is working on a range of initiatives to deliver more affordable housing through its residential property investment strategy, and works with private developers to increase the proportion of affordable homes in new developments.