A three year project led by Futures Homescape has brought 86 empty properties back in to use as quality affordable housing to help ease the housing crisis and create new homes for people in need.
The new homes were created over a three-year period with around £1m of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and help from Amber Valley Borough Council and Erewash Borough Council.
Futures Homescape also worked with Amber Valley Borough Council and Erewash Borough Council to complete the project.
Futures Homescape Executive Director Paul Parkinson said “We currently have a shortage of affordable housing in the UK, with the East Midlands being one of the hardest hit areas.”
“Tackling this by making use of an existing property is an innovative and economically viable solution. It’s particularly pleasing when we’re able to conserve the heritage of the areas we operate in and transform local landmarks into modern, stylish homes that people will enjoy.”
Ian Penn, Area Manager for the HCA added: “We are really pleased to have worked with Futures on this project, which has helped bring a number of often challenging empty homes back into use and in doing so they have provided valuable new affordable homes for the benefit of local people.”
Empty buildings in Duffield, Langley Mill, Heanor, Alfreton, Somercotes, Marehay, Bullbridge, Belper, Borrowash, Ilkeston, Codnor, Long Eaton and Kilburn have all been transformed into modern, affordable housing for those struggling to afford to buy a house or pay rent in the private sector.
David Welton, 67, moved into the Long Eaton site in September 2014 with his wife – formerly a derelict school swimming pool which had been converted into six stylish new affordable homes.
He said “Our experiences in the private sector weren’t good. Due to my wife being disabled, we were forced to take a property which in truth, was in poor shape. It had damp, mould and was in need of some repairs but because there was nothing else around, we had to take it.”
“We put our name down on the affordable housing list and weren’t sure what we’d get but we had to take a chance. We went to see it being built and were so impressed, we snapped it up.”
“We call this place our palace. Although we may not own it, we’ve been able to put our own stamp on the place and it really has fulfilled the dreams we had for our retirement.”
The former swimming pool, which had stood empty for seven years, was built in 1900 and significant works to preserve the building’s heritage were made, including recycling original building materials and making sure it was in keeping with the surrounding area.
Emma Lindley, Private Rented Sector Coordinator at Futures Homescape, has driven the empty homes project for the organisation.
She commented “We’ve used 50% less grant money to bring these empty properties back into use than it would have taken to build brand new homes – incredible value for money in just three years.”
“What’s more is that the grant we’ve used to create these new homes has all been put straight back into the local economy with us using local tradespeople and suppliers.”
The average cost of bringing each of the empty properties back into use as an affordable home is just over £11,000.
Emma added “Some of these properties have been empty for around 14 years, taking up space and collecting zero council tax. By bringing them back into use we’ve created much needed housing and increased revenue for local authorities.”
Figures from the National Housing Federation show that there is more than 4,500 empty properties in Derbyshire, which could all be refurbished to help ease the housing crisis.
Rising house prices and rent rates has led to a national shortage of affordable housing in the UK, contributing to a housing crisis.
In Derbyshire alone, it is estimated that an annual average household income of £37,000 is needed to buy a home. Currently, the average in the county is £25,000.
In the East Midlands there will be a 220,000 housing shortfall in the next 30 years if current building rates continue.
Futures Homescape’s Private Sector Leasing Team are looking to work with local property owners to help them lease more properties in Derbyshire and provide more housing for people that need it.
For more information please visit www.homescape.futureshg.co.uk