Monday, April 05, 2010

Empty Promises

A reader has emailed me a link to the above video on YouTube. It was shot at one of those public sector renewal love-ins at the Margate Media Centre last week.

The subject under discussion is crap housing, and in particular the No Use Empty scheme. No Use Empty is, as you know, an East Kent initiative backed by KCC and Thanet Council. Its aim is to bring 6,000 empty and derelict properties (otherwise known as 'eyesores'), back into use by persuading landlords, and bribing them with grants, to do up their shitholes instead of leaving them and the surrounding area to go down the khazi, in the greedy expectation of profit tomorrow without spending a penny today.

A worthy cause you might say. But let me just save you nine minutes or so and summarise the video for you.

Audience member: What control do you have over the many asbentee private landlords in the area?

Speaker (Head of Community Planning KCC): I'm not making excuses, but the best person to ask isn't here.

Audience member: I run the new B&B in Hawley Square and in the last few weeks we've had five couples from out of the area, looking for family homes here, stay with us. The estate agents have told them there are no large houses to buy, it's mostly small units, the houses have been divided up.

Then we have the No Use Empty scheme... many of those projects are still standing empty and are touted as a success after they've only had a first wave renovation. These very small, one bed flats in these large historic buildings which would have been appealing to the people we actually want to attract to give a more balanced, settled community are then added to the other 880 empty properties that you've got. So you're actually losing some of the key buildings that would have been attractive to incomers... that would rebalance the social imbalance that's been created over the past 30 years.

Who's actually checking that these buildings... are now occupied and why are you turning beautiful buildings into more substandard bedsits and flats? When we renovated our listed building and took away ten bedsits we got nothing... and yet property developers are able to get money to renovate buildings and not occupy them, and they're still standing derelict. And that's KCC money.

Speaker (Head of Community Planning KCC): That is... is exactly the key issue here, but rather than give an answer blah 880 empty properties, that's a potential for investment blah.

Audience member: One of the problems is that we never know who to talk to... nobody knows who's in charge. Will you support a directorate that would bring everything together in one place in Thanet?

Chair: Colin is only a (council) officer, he doesn't need to answer that one.

It's enough to make you weep, isn't it?

Update: Arse! The video has been removed from YouTube by whoever uploaded it. Must have been embarrassed by the glaring spotlight of my publicity!

Update update: Er, it's back again now.

Click here to go to No Use Empty website
Click here to go to Margate Renewal Partnership website


Anonymous said...

who the f**k is the knob-jockey from KCC and why did he bother turning up?

You've been too kind on your summary ECR. Blah blah blah makes more sense than the nonsense he spouted.

Anonymous said...

On the whatdotheyknow website in reponse to a request about a Common Purpose graduate, KCC reply that the follow person held positions at KCC:

Colin MacLean

Start date 4 February 2002 - 31 March 2006
Head of External Funding

1 April 2006 - 31 March 2007
Senior Change Programme Manager
(temporary, following redundancy from previous post)

1 April 2007 - to date Head of Community Planning

Nice work if you can get it, what being made redundant and still having a meqa bucks paid job and he cant answer a simple question.

Anonymous said...

Having had recent constant contact with the council I now despair especially as they seem to have made extending the social housing their priority - wonder who is making the money here wink wink!!

Richard Eastcliff said...

Given the Tories rule round here, it seems rather odd that they're so keen on social housing. I thought Maggie Thatcher said there was no such thing as society?

Would it be because social housing lines their developer chums' pockets? I think we should be told!

Anonymous said...

Social Housing aka Cliftonville!!! Why and how are they SO very keen not to make the Landlord of all the social housing properties that goes by the cliftonville address of 1-5 Lewis Crescent do what he was supposed to when he was given planning permission. We believe one of the "owners" lives up on North Foreland .. who does he look after on the council we wonder?
Has anyone walked along the front past the oval and seen what used to be lovely properties looking like the local tip on a good day. Overflowing eurobins, abandoned furniture, untaxed cars, drunks lolling along on the green when the sun comes out and screaming ethnic kids climbing what is still a memorial statue.

Anonymous said...

Look at the so called regeneration of Dreamland, what a con, those hideous blocks of flats creeping further and further into the site, it wont be worth doing anything on that site because a handful of idiots (we all no who) with no vision or interest in the future of Margate win again and again an again... twats.

Anonymous said...

Is that Latchford chairing it?

Anonymous said...

I was was Bill Hayton in the chair!