Tonbridge Road Features in Kent Messenger

Written on 15th September 2016

Tonbridge Road Features in Kent Messenger


We celebrated the opening of our newest property on Tuesday 6 September 2016 thanks to a council-led initiative. 

Initially used as our office, we've now converted the Victorian property in Tonbridge Road into nine flats after securing a loan of £175,000 from Kent County Council’s No Use Empty scheme. 

Our Tenants will benefit from low-cost heating and energy bills now and well into the future. A brand new ground source heat pump has been installed. Solar panels, a fire alarm system and specialist entrance system with CCTV security are also included in the design to make this property a safe and secure environment for all.

A run-down Victorian office in Maidstone has been converted into accommodation for people with learning difficulties as part of a scheme initiative to recycle empty buildings.

No Use Empty Scheme (NUE) is a county council-led initative offering interest-free loans to devlopers, which has so far revived 4,556 derilict properties in the county since 2005.

Now the scheme's flagship project - an unassuming three-storey block opposite the Vine Medical Centre in Tonbridge Road - has been unveilled.

An unassuming three storey block opposite the Vine Medical Centre in Tonbridge Road has been unveiled. Mark Dance, KCC cabinet member for Economic Development was invited to officially open the new flats.

Nine flats have been created by the £280,000 development of the building, which was purchased in 2001 by Accommodation Y.E.S. (Your Empowering Service) and initially used it as its offices.

The family owned company runs long and short term accommodation for vulnerable adults as well as helping people towards independent living.

After moving out of the business it got planning permission from Maidstone Borough Council and secured a loan of £175,000 from NUE.

Accommodation Y.E.S. housing manager Iza O Shea said: “Crucial to our goal of empowering people to live full and active lives in a more independent way is providing affordable well-equipped accommodation. This is a challenging given the reluctance of most lenders to make capital available to us, so we are delighted to have partnered with NUE to deliver this. It has supported us no end to make this a successful project.”

Steve Grimshaw, programme manager for NUE at KCC said: “This started as a means of returning empty dwellings to use; 10 years on we are exploring ways of delivering new homes from dilapidated commercial premises.

“We encourage anyone undertaking a refurbishment or conversion to get in touch as we would love to help.”

  • All local authorities in Kent participate in NUE, which in 2011 went national. Owners of empty buildings can apply for up to £25,000 per unit, repayable after three years, with KCC issuing a total of £16.9m in loans so far. The loans granted by KCC have resulted in an additional £23.3m in private funding. NUE has revived 488 buildings in Maidstone, 86 in Tonbridge and Malling and 150 in Tunbridge Wells.

Source: Kent Messenger

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