Former bakery in Broadstairs is renovated with help from No Use Empty

A former bakery in St Peter’s, Broadstairs, is being given a fresh lease of life with the help of funding from Kent County Council’s No Use Empty scheme.

Local chartered surveyors, Urban Surveying and Design, has used a £50,000 loan to help transform the property into its new office space on the ground floor with a residential flat above, which will be rented out. The business will officially open its new doors on Friday 6 May.

The building in Church Street had stood empty for seven years, becoming a target for graffiti and causing concern for residents in the area. Urban Surveying and Design were looking for new premises close to their existing site, so they could expand their business and ultimately take on more staff. The Old Bakery was seen as the perfect fit.

Scott Rigden is Managing Director of Urban Surveying and Design. He said:

“The Old Bakery is the perfect setting for us to promote our business. I knew it had potential from the first day I saw it as a derelict shell, but it had to be financially viable. The support from No Use Empty meant that we could take on the project, grow our business and give something back to our local community at the same time.”

The project was started two years ago with work getting underway on the site in August 2010. The building has been sympathetically renovated in keeping with the local conservation area.

It was completed in April and Mr Rigden hopes that the business’ new high profile location on a busy street will lead to the expansion of its client base. He added:

“I think our new location will help us to expand and in the short term we would like to employ one or two additional trainees to give local young people the benefit of professional training and a career in surveying, something I’m personally very committed to.”The cottage next door is also being renovated as part of the project to create a new two bedroom family home and completion is expected in October 2011.

The No Use Empty initiative was originally set up by Kent County Council in 2005 and is now a partnership with all twelve district and borough councils in Kent. To date, No Use Empty has returned 1,677 empty properties across Kent back into use.

Through the scheme, property owners can get a loan to help them finance refurbishments and make properties habitable again. To be eligible, properties must be either sold or rented after completion and the loans repaid in full. The money is then recycled for another project.

Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Kevin Lynes, said:

“What a fantastic result. This is exactly why No Use Empty exists. This loan has given a local business the chance to grow with potential for creating more jobs; it’s provided more homes and it’s removed a magnet for anti-social behaviour that was undoubtedly having a very negative effect on the local community.”

The project is being supported by Thanet District Council, which is one of the district partners in the No Use Empty scheme. Thanet District Council Empty Property officer, Mike Thompson, said:

“St Peter’s is a very close, thriving community and to see this building in such a sorry state was very sad. It was an obvious candidate for the No Use empty scheme and I’m delighted to see it being brought back into use and to have played an active part in the building’s restoration and redevelopment”.

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