Thanet council plan to ‘significantly’ speed up delivery of affordable homes and plans for new temporary accommodation

House building in Thanet

Thanet council plans to ‘significantly’ speed up its affordable housing development with the aim of providing at least 400 social homes by 2027.

The proposal will be discussed by councillors at a meeting on July 13.

Members will also be asked to approve a £7.485m spend to buy 51 new homes to “kickstart” the programme.

These are to be made up of 42 properties at the Spitfire Green development by Barrett Homes at a cost of £5m and 9 properties at Westwood using £1.19million of funding from a national £500 million scheme to enable local authorities to purchase properties for Ukrainian and Afghan refugee households for an initial period of 3 years. Thanet council will match-fund the grant with £1.996million from its housing capital programme.

Since 2015, the council has added to its existing housing stock by building or buying 144 new affordable rented homes. This represents over 60% of the 313 new affordable homes provided by the council and its housing association partners in that period.

As part of the on-going new build programme, the council has approved funding and delivery of 47 more homes. Sites have been identified and construction is due to start early in 2024.

Affordable rents

The revised target for Thanet District Council is to buy or build at least 400 new affordable rented homes by 2027 compared to the current target of 160 homes.

The council currently sets affordable rents at the lower of 80% of market rent or the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate.  LHA rates have not been increased since April 2020 and will remain fixed until at least 2024/25.

This creates a risk that  if the government does not vary the LHA rate then future income would not increase at the same rate as revenue costs. This means the council must decide whether to set affordable rents at up to 80% of market rent and move away from setting a maximum of LHA rates.

There are 1604 households in housing need on the council’s housing register, waiting for a new home.

Temporary accommodation

Foy House Photo TDC

The council is also facing a rapid growth in the number of people who have become homeless. Currently 233 households are living in temporary accommodation provided by the council.

There is a further £2.2m in the general fund capital programme for a second temporary accommodation  project following the success of Foy House in Margate. This project has the potential for up to 10 homes.

The council has also bought the former Oasis refuge in Edgar Road, with the final tranche of funding from the Cliftonville intervention programme (Live Margate) with the intention of converting to a further 16 homes.

The property is to be used by the RISE homelessness service until March 2025 with the housing project is planned to start on site for the conversion works in April 2025.

Councillor Helen Whitehead, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing said: “Having access to genuinely affordable housing is a huge concern for many Thanet residents; if we can provide that, we relieve many of the pressures that residents are currently facing, and as an administration we are determined to do so.

“Regeneration brings many positives; but without key infrastructure, such as affordable housing, regeneration can quickly become gentrification, and it is residents within the private rental sector who are often most affected by this; we can and will work to support residents in need, and provide genuinely affordable housing at a rate that will make a difference.

“An increasing number of residents are now facing homelessness, and many are having to be supported in temporary accommodation. Establishing our in house temporary accommodation service at Foy House to keep as many residents in area and near their support networks was a significant step; we will continue to deliver further in house temporary accommodation, but we also need to provide homes; and we will deliver them at a faster rate than we have ever done before, because protecting and supporting all of our community in Thanet is essential.

“Between 2015 and 2023 we delivered an average of 18 homes per year as a council; we are pledging now to deliver at least 100 a year for the next four years so that we can support residents at a time when they most need support.

“I know that Members understand the importance of delivering housing to support residents; I look forward to working together as a council to take this programme forward.”

Thanet council says a number of landowners have approaching it to explore whether the council would be interested in purchasing land for the delivery of new homes, or in working in partnership, or as part of a joint venture to deliver homes.

A report to councillors says: “We are currently aware of sites like this with capacity for around 90 homes, but it is likely that further opportunities will arise.”

If approved the draw down of additional funding for the 52 homes will be subject to Cabinet approval. This would take place at a meeting planned for Thursday 27 July.


  1. A step in the right direction- a small number but for those tenants lucky enough to get one it is a godsend. Just speak to the few rehoused in the current new build to see how happy people can be. More please – and keep up the good work.

  2. This work turns back the tide of indifference .
    The security having a home brings to people is so valuable.

  3. Certainly the local priority – social renting – and gradually HMG appears to be waking up to this (but where is the funding to be found ?) In the meantime a NO USE EMPTY campaign needs reviving to address the disproportionate amount of longterm empties in Thanet (twice the national average) + a sensible rather than free for all AirBnB strategy which will at least penalise speculators + what is the ‘brownfield’ strategy (not least making better use of wasted asphalt hectares at Westwood Cross.) That should provide a good 5,000 accommodation units and answer actual local needs without sacrificing prime greenfield and overburdening infrastructure but providing welcome solid refurb work for our own local contractors ?

    • We already have a No Use Empty team, Geoff; they are the most successful team in Kent at bringing empty properties back into use.

      • Good to hear, Helen – but plenty of scope for ‘souping up’ when you look at the latest Empty Homes Agency stats which firmly place Thanet at the bottom of the E Kent league. Of course there’s even more scope in the Metropolis for expansion – no need for them to export their problems to us. No doubt Mayor Khan will be lobbying the very likely new dispensation under Lisa Nandy extremely hard ! Meanwhile – ‘right homes in right places’ should be the mantra ! And let us hope that the coastal peripheries aren’t entirely lost in the Left behind revisions.

  4. Affordable homes which when you look at the government definition is a myth, what is much required is social housing. That will benefit hundreds of thousands of people.

    • These properties are at genuinely affordable rent, Steve; they will be rented at LHA rate, not at 80% of the private market.

      • The article doesn’t make it clear where the 5 million will be coming from, if it’s to be borrowed will rents at LHA level be sufficient to cover repaymemts and the maintenance and repair costs and if it’s to be from other areas of the council is it to be repaid? Also the article says its to be decided wether to move away from LHA and towards 80% of market rents but your reply above suggests that decision has already been made. Has it?

        • Additionally if 42 homes can be bought for 5 million would it not be better value for the council to buy an additional 16 homes for the 2 million it is matchfunding the gov. funds with? Which would house the 9 lots of refugees and have 7 homes for immediate local housing? Or even choose to prioritise local provision first.

  5. Will the ‘right to buy’ scheme be extended to these new homes. It has done so much damage to Social Housing. Also will you be addressing the scourge of Airbnb which has so decimated residential rental stock

  6. Affordable homes for refugees, so basically UK taxpayers are the landlords, well done council.
    Any news on new schools, police stations, hospitals and shops for these tenants??

  7. Yet more houses to add to the several thousand newly-built and already destroying any quality of life in Thanet. Not satisfied with importing dross from the south London boroughs TDC are using taxpayer’s money to build houses for refugees. Quality of life for Thanet… near nil.

  8. Thank goodness I’ve never lived in the South London borough! I wouldn’t like to be thought of as dross.

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