Yesterday over 500 people gathered in Hythe to demonstrate against the concreting over of Shepway. Yet what stood out to me were two ladies, with placards telling us “People have to live somewhere“. Jean and Gillian (pictured) were adamant that we need homes, and I for one cannot disagree with them, nor do I believe, do the people who attended the rally in Hythe yesterday.(22/04/17).
I do not believe that anyone at the rally yesterday was against the building of new homes. I believe that they are against the building of 26,292 new homes which would increase the population of Shepway by 54%. In numbers that means close to 60,000 people.
So are there any solutions? Yes. Here’s one Shepway District Council (SDC) could get to work on immediately.
Across Shepway according to figures supplied to DCLG by SDC, there are 547 empty properties. And across Kent there are 4,999 empty properties. SDC have paid out over £2 million on their B&B bill to accommodate people, while homes stand empty. This is a disgrace in my opinion.
KCC provide loans to bring empty properties back into use. In July 2016 KCC and SDC formed a closer partnership to introduce the No Use Empty Plus top-up loan fund. SDC have allocated an extra £400,000 to the fund through the recyclable loan fund in order to top-up loans for larger projects in Shepway that need funding above the standard of £25,000 per unit loan amount.
Shepway have over 3000 people on their housing waiting list and by bringing the empty homes back into use across our district, we could simply halve the number of people on the waiting list. SDC has plenty of carrots and sticks in its arsenal to persuade, encourage and force the owners of these properties to make them fit and available for habitation. But for one reason or another it chooses not to do so on the scale which is so urgently required. This failure is a scandal. Just image what a difference making just half of these 547 empty homes available for rent would make.
In the last four years SDC have paid out the sum of £2,107,929 on their bed and breakfast accommodation payments bill, when there are empty properties which could house these people who are on the waiting list. It is an indictment of SDC’s Conservative led administration.
If you elect me to Kent County Council on May 4th, I will tackle this scandal of empty homes in Shepway and hold Shepway to account for its long-standing failure in managing this serious problem. I will also make the increased provision of affordable social rented housing in Shepway one my top priorities.
Vote Rylands – Vote Independent – May 4th
Published & Promoted by Bryan Rylands Flat D Avenay Court Folkestone CT20 2LN
All the information above is my own and does not represent the views of the Shepwayvox Team who have kindly allowed me to use their blogsite.