The housing team at Thanet District Council has won the 2018 Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Housing Initiative Award.
The win was in recognition of work on a project to turn existing poor quality flats and bedsits into quality family homes with affordable rents in Cliftonville West and Margate Central.
The scheme, Live Margate, aims to improve housing and living conditions as well as encourage investment and owner occupation.
£23.1 million is being invested into the programme through key organisations including Thanet District Council, South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Homes England, and Housing Associations.
The aim is to buy 300 properties, many of which are problem buildings – either derelict or unoccupied for years – and renovate them.
Work on Live Margate will continue until 2026.
Live Margate has been implemented alongside a number of overlapping initiatives in the same area including designating conservation area status, selective licensing which targets rogue landlords and empty property loans, with KCC, to provide loans for owner occupiers and landlords to renovate properties.
The recently renewed five year Selective Licensing Scheme ensures landlords are fulfilling their duties to provide acceptable housing conditions and ensure good property management in the same area.
The licensing scheme means all privately rented properties within Margate Central, Cliftonville West and properties in Trinity Square and Northdown Road are required to be licensed with the council. The scheme runs until 20 April 2021, unless revoked early by the council.
Cllr Lesley Ann Game, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We are thrilled that Thanet District Council has been recognised for all the work achieved to date by the Live Margate programme. We have worked closely with our partners, housing associations and house builders as well members of the community to ensure that developments enhance Margate for the long-term. Winning this award is testament to our commitment to improving lives of local people and raising residential standards. Congratulations to all involved.”
Eric Hotson, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Corporate and Democratic Services, said: “I would like to thank and congratulate all those involved working on this exciting housing regeneration initiative in Margate over the last few years, from both Thanet and Kent. This is a good example of how councils and other partners can work in collaboration to achieve positive results for their community.”
The judges said of Thanet District Council’s entry: “This winning project demonstrates a successful and sustained strategy to deal with a very challenging housing problem. It showcases clear interventions, partner and community engagement, bravery and tenacity.”
The housing team, headed up by Bob Porter, was also shortlisted in the Team of the Year category in the same awards.