Two families have moved into properties brought back to life by Thanet council in a £1.2million refurbishment project – and four more are due to receive keys this week and next.
The authority bought 40-46 Sweyn Road in 2013 as part of the Live Margate scheme which is targeted at turning existing poor quality flats and bedsits into quality family homes with affordable rents in Cliftonville West and Margate Central.
The Sweyn Road buildings were empty and in a poor state of repair, with number 44 suffering extensive fire damage and the other properties having dry rot and structural problems.
Planning permission to create two, four-bed houses; two three-bed maisonettes and two, two-bed flats at the site was granted in 2015.
Once on-site the project took some 18-months, longer than expected because part way through Sweyn Road was designated a conservation area which meant additional work needed to be completed.
The properties were gutted, completely refurbished with new windows, doors, staircases and kitchens installed. Outside the team have recreated the mouldings and cornicing evident on neighbouring homes to retain the period feel of the street.
This involved ripping out eyesore, brick extensions along the buildings and recreating the original frontage.
The homes will go to Thanet families on the housing waiting list, with half of those already resident in Cliftonville. They are being let at affordable rents – equalling 80% of the market value.
Councillor Lesley Game, Cabinet member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, said: “We are really proud of the team for what they have done and the way they have recreated features of the buildings,
“It has been a massive refurbishment and they have done such a superb job.
“This means there are families now being rehoused with the two, four-bed homes going to families who are from the Cliftonville area last weekend. The rest are allocated and families will move in over the next couple of weeks.
“This is now a conservation area and the team worked hard to recreate the buildings so they are in keeping with everything, such as the fascias, carefully designed.”
Work on a property in Ethelbert Crescent to convert it into three flats for local families is due to start this Summer.
£23.1 million is invested in the Live Margate programme through key organisations including Thanet District Council, Kent County Council and the Homes & Communities Agency.
Work on Live Margate will continue until 2026.
Thanet council is also working in St Peters as part of phase one of a £9.2 million affordable housing scheme.
The first phase, costing £2.5million and being carried out by contractors WW Martin, involves work at five sites in Margate and St. Peters. The redevelopment will provide 11 units on parcels of land currently or historically providing blocks of garages. These are to be a mixture of flats, houses and bungalows.
Fourteen units in Kings Street Ramsgate, 3 in Westcliffe Road and some of the 29 homes in the empty homes programme have already been completed in Ramsgate.
The most recent figures available from Thanet council show there were 2156 households on the housing waiting list in April 2017. At the end of September 2017 there were 179 housholds in temporary accommodation and 61 in B&B.
In 2015/16 Thanet council paid out £390,259 for temporary accommodation on a night by night basis, by 2016/17 this had risen to £1,103,225.