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<p>This newsletter is produced to keep you informed about Gravesham Borough Councils housing initiatives. Call 01474 33 76 52 to find out more</p> <p>Autumn 2012</p> <p>Strategic housing</p> <p>MattersDevelopment update... Development update... Development update... Development update</p> <p>Dorrit Cottages</p> <p>The redevelopment of the Chequers Inn site in Lower Higham is an excellent example of a successful, well designed mixed use development in a rural setting.</p> <p>This development was completed in December 2011and is a sympathetic conversion of a former public house and surrounding land into eight apartments for sale, five new houses for sale and a terrace of three houses for rent and two for shared ownership managed by Moat Homes.</p> <p>Moat Homes were approached by Red Admiral to be a partner in the development and management of the five affordable homes. Moat has considerable experience of </p> <p>working very closely with housing developers to develop well designed, economical and energy efficient homes in both rural and urban areas. </p> <p>The room sizes and design of the new homes provide all the requirements for a modern family and the layout of the development follows an attractive courtyard approach.</p> <p>Red Admiral Homes worked closely with the local planners and the affordable housing provider to overcome the practical difficulties in developing this site and has been very successful in producing popular new high quality homes in a rural setting.</p> <p>More room at the Inn</p> <p>Gravesham Borough Council in partnership with Lakehouse, Cirlcle and the Potter Raper Partnership held an opening ceremony on 28 October last year for the five bungalows which were the first new council homes to be built for over 17 years. </p> <p>Cllr Sue Howes (Lead Member for Housing) and Cllr Lyn Milner who is now the mayor were there. Henry Eric Hardens daughter Julie Wells was asked to cut a ribbon to mark the opening ceremony. </p> <p>Harden Road</p> <p>First new council homes in17 years</p> <p>Printed and published by Gravesham Borough Councils Communications Team </p> <p>ClarendonThe Clarendon was finally completed in March 2012. The development comprises 30 one and two bed apartments, being a mix of social rent and shared ownership. The social rent apartments were advertised on Kent Home Choice and allocated through Choice Based Lettings to applicants on Gravesham Borough Councils housing register.</p> <p>Development update... Development update... Development update... Development update</p> <p>Christianfields</p> <p>Watling Court</p> <p>Gravesham Borough Council is working in partnership with Moat to redevelop Christianfields. The regeneration of Christianfields has so far delivered 150 much needed new affordable homes through Phases 1 and 2. Phase 3 is now underway which will deliver a further 90 affordable homes. Completion of Phase 3 is expected by November 2013. </p> <p>The first extra care scheme to be developed in the borough was completed in September 2011. The scheme is owned and managed by The Abbeyfield Kent Society. An opening Ceremony was held on 27 April 2012 it was attended by over 200 people including Adam Holloway MP, Cllr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and Lord LIsle. Guests were welcomed by Robert Barnes, Chairman of The Abbeyfield Kent Society. Lord LIsle unveiled the plaque declaring the scheme officially open. </p> <p>Working with Town and Country Housing Group, GCHA has secured a four year programme for delivery of new homes with 16 apartments at DeWarren being the first to be delivered. It is hoped that a further 34 homes will be built by GCHA by the end of 2014.The development of DeWarren House totalled 1.7million and has provided 10 one bedroom and six two bedroom apartments for Gravesham residents, including two wheelchair user properties. The apartments were deliberately designed to a commercial finish to reflect the fact the homes are let on five year fixed term tenancies and affordable rents. GCHAs Chief Executive, Veronica Mabey stated as these homes are let on non-secure tenancies and affordable rents, which are 80% of a market rent, we believe that potential residents need to see and experience value for money both in terms of the quality of the new home and the standard of service provided .Children from nearby St Botolphs Primary School painted pictures showing different aspects of family life and the community, all of which now hang in the ground floor hallway, brightening the entrance for all residents. The scheme was opened on 22 June by Gravesham MP Adam Holloway and Cllr Lyn Milner, Mayor of Gravesham.</p> <p>Dewarren House</p> <p>Glebe RoadThe site is being developed by GCHA with Stonechart Developments. The development is located in a residential area of mainly owner occupation, near a doctors surgery and local schools, off Pelham Road South and is convenient for local shops as well as Gravesends main facilities.The development will consist of 10 affordable homes for rent: two 1 bed apartments, three 2 bed apartments, two 3 bed houses and three 4 bed housesAll homes come with off road parking. The homes will be built to HCA design standards and aim to meet Code Three for Sustainable Homes. GCHA acquired the site in April 2012 and started on site in May, aiming for a completion at the end of June 2013.</p> <p>Printed and published by Gravesham Borough Councils Communications Team </p> <p>Empty homes scheme scoops top prize</p> <p>Last time in our autumn edition, we reported on the No Use Empty scheme short listed for an award at the Regeneration &amp; Renewal Awards 2011. Withstanding fierce competition NUE won first prize in the prestigious Partnership Category. </p> <p>This is further recognition of the scheme, which has been a resounding success since its launch in 2005 returning more than 2000 properties across Kent back in to use.</p> <p>Gravesham has been an active participant of the scheme since 2009 and building on this success and as a result of Council intervention returned 50 empty properties to use in 2011-2012. </p> <p>The council has started 2012-2013 in much the same vein and in the first three months has seen 13 properties returned to use quicker than they might have been because of Council involvement.</p> <p>The council offers a range of services from practical advice on refurbishing a property, marketing options and financial assistance aimed at helping owners return their property to use. </p> <p>Fundamental to this initiative is the financial assistance available to owners in the form of interest free loans to develop their property for rent or sale and Gravesham has awarded its first interest free loan to the owners of a property that has been empty for eight years. </p> <p>Once renovated the property will provide much needed accommodation in a central location whilst restoring a derelict and neglected property to use.</p> <p>Gravesham continues to challenge those owners who keep their property empty and where appropriate will consider enforcement action if the property is in a poor and neglected condition to compel owners to take measures to repair and restore their property and return it to use.</p> <p>Meet the team</p> <p>Sharon DonaldHousing Strategy and Development Manager</p> <p>Facts about Sharon Sharon re-joined Gravesham five years ago after spending some time in Housing Management for a large Housing Association.</p> <p>Gravesham Borough Councils Housing Strategy and Development team consists of two part-time staff and one full-time member of staff. Find out more about them below.</p> <p>Simon DohertyHousing Strategy and Development OfficerSimon joined the team 12 months ago and has settled in well to his new role. Simon divides his time between Strategy and Development and Empty Properties which has seen great results in returning empty properties to use.</p> <p>Sonya HothiHousing Strategy and Development OfficerSonya has recently returned from maternity leave and is enjoying being back with the team</p> <p>This newsletter is produced to keep you informed about Gravesham Borough Councils housing initiatives. Call 01474 33 76 52 to find out more</p> <p>Printed and published by Gravesham Borough Councils Communications Team </p> <p>Affordable housing completions 2011-12. Total 151</p> <p>0</p> <p>10</p> <p>20</p> <p>30</p> <p>40</p> <p>50</p> <p>60</p> <p>1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr</p> <p>FlatsHousesBungalowsExtra Care Flats</p> <p>Following comments received from Parish Councils questioning the robustness of Rural Housing Needs surveys, officers from Gravesham Borough Council researched survey forms used across the South East to establish examples of best practice. With assistance from Action with Communities in Rural Kent (ACRK), a revised survey form was prepared and consulted upon. </p> <p>After consultation and further comments, the survey was approved for use in a rolling-programme to cover all rural areas of the borough, starting with those rural areas that had not been previously surveyed Vigo and Istead Rise</p> <p>ACRK delivered a survey to every household in the Parish of Vigo in early May 2012 and a response rate of 40% was achieved. </p> <p>Analysing the survey showed that there was a need for up to 17 homes for local people who are in need of affordable housing.</p> <p>In late May a further survey was distributed to all households in Istead Rise with a response rate of 42%. The </p> <p>survey showed that there was a need </p> <p>of up to eight homes for local people in need of affordable housing.</p> <p>Comments on the draft reports have been requested and it is anticipated that both reports will go to the Councils Public and Private Housing Committee prior to publication. </p> <p>Following publication, it is anticipated that ACRK will work with both the </p> <p>Parish and Borough Councils to </p> <p>identify opportunities to provide affordable housing for local people. </p> <p>It is expected that further surveys will be carried out during this financial year in Shorne and Luddesdown, with Cobham, Higham and Meopham being resurveyed during 2013-2014. </p> <p>Rural housing needs survey</p>