Plans to take compulsory purchase action on an empty property in Cliftonville have been agreed by Thanet Council’s Cabinet.
The group of buildings at 12-15 Cliff Terrace, opposite the Lido, has former shop units on the ground floor with accommodation above them. They have been owned by the same person since the late 1940’s and have been empty for more than a decade. Cabinet Members were last night (Thursday 27 July) told that a feasibility study of the work needed was funded by Thanet Council in 1998 and the owner was given the opportunity to take advantage of substantial grant aid towards the required work, but he did not take up this option.
Since then, numerous meetings have been held with the owner and developers have expressed an interest in purchasing the properties, but no progress has been made.
In November 2005, the “No Use Empty” campaign was launched, building on Thanet Council’s Empty Property Strategy, which was adopted in 2003. The new campaign brings together Thanet, Dover, Shepway and Swale District Councils with Kent County Council and is funded by £5 million from central government to help bring forward compulsory purchase action.
Cllr. Ingrid Spencer, Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Services, said: “It’s thanks to the Council’s participation in the “No Use Empty” campaign that we are finally able to take action over this eyesore building that has blighted the area for so many years. This money allows Thanet, along with the other coastal areas, to tackle long term problems like 12 – 15 Cliff Terrace, where negotiations have produced no results. When we joined the campaign a few months ago, we asked our officers to find prime candidates for action and they put forward this property as their top priority for action and rightly so. For too long now, this building has been blighting the area. By taking this action, we should eventually be able to have a property to be proud of.”
The owner of the property is still able to carry out the required work or sell the building to a developer with an agreed programme of works, before the property is compulsorily purchased. Should the Compulsory Purchase Order go ahead, the Council would enter into a partnership agreement with a Registered Social Landlord, who would purchase and develop the property from the Council upon the completion of the Order. They would then return the property back into residential use.