Empty offices and houses converted into 30 apartments by Northampton Borough Council

The converted property in Spencer Parade

The converted property in Spencer Parade

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Offices and houses that laid empty for two years have been converted into flats by Northampton Borough Council using a £500,000 grant.

The Empty Homes Programme has seen vacant residential and commercial buildings converted into 30 one and two-bed apartments for affordable rent in Northampton in the last year, with money from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The council worked with private owners and offered grants or loans to help cope with the current demand in the town.

One of the empty properties brought back into residential use is a Grade II listed Georgian property on Spencer Parade which had previously been used as an office block. The council worked with the owners to convert the property into six modern flats which have now been rented out to tenants for the past two months.

Steve Harris, owner of the property, said: “Transforming the property was a fantastic opportunity and it is very satisfying to see the results with so many happy tenants enjoying their new homes.”

Residential properties have also been converted across the town including in Eastfield, St James, Dallington, Abington and The Mounts.

Empty town centre office blocks in Abington Street have also been brought back into use as flats.

Although the HCA Empty Homes Programme recently came to an end in March 2015, the council is now applying to the HCA for funding under the Affordable Homes Programme 2015-18.

Council leader Mary Markham, said: “We have a shortage of one and two bed properties in Northampton and this programme has enabled us to gain extra properties for our tenants and also revitalise disused buildings, often in key areas of the town centre, which in turn helps to regenerate the area and benefit the wider economy of the town.”

-To be eligible, the property must have been vacant for six months or more and the owner must be happy to lease the property to the Borough Council for a minimum of six years.

-Due to the current demand, the property must offer one or two bedrooms or be self-contained flats – or have the potential to convert into them.

-Once works are completed to bring the property up to the national decent homes standard, the owner leases the property to the council and pays a monthly management fee for the council to house tenants.

-At the end of the lease the Borough Council will hand the property back to the owners at the national decent homes standard.

-Anyone who would like to find out more about the scheme can call 01604 838723, email DChatha@northampton.gov.uk or visit www.northampton.gov.uk

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