Orbit Housing undertook a property rationalisation in 2018 which identified their current office in Margate High Street as surplus to requirements. Orbit vacated from the property at the end of February 2019 after securing a change of use from office to residential under Permitted Development Rights. Under Permitted Development Rights, the scheme has prior notification approval for eight residential units (6 x 2beds and 2 x 1 bed).
The Council has made an offer of £500,000 to Orbit to acquire the property to safeguard a key asset in the High Street and control how the property is used and managed in the future. The intention is for the Council to refurbish the property up to lettable standards to meet housing needs.
The Council has power under section 9 of the Housing Act 1985 to acquire properties for the purpose of providing housing accommodation. This purchase is in accordance with the provisions of the Act, and any relevant subsequent legislation and may become subject to Right to Buy.
To enable the purchase, a £1.63m capital scheme for Homelessness Accommodation was approved by the Council on 28 February 2019 as part of the 2019/20 capital programme. It is proposed to use this for the acquisition, design and build.
The indicative total cost of the proposed scheme is £1.2m, which can be met from the existing approved funding headroom. The residual £400,000 will be retained as contingency until more accurate and detailed costings are available.
Subject to further detailed design and any required planning approvals, the conversion could commence in early 2020.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Significant effect on communities;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Wards affected: Margate Central Ward;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 14/08/2019
Decision due: 19 Sep 2019 by Cabinet
Lead member: Councillor Lesley Ann Game, Shadow Leader of the Council firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead director: Tim Willis
Contact: Bob Porter, Director of Housing and Planning Tel: 01843 577006 Email: email@example.com.
What the decision will mean: Approval for expenditure of agreed capital budget and use of Right to Buy receipts. Agreement to fund initial purchase and associated works for conversion from office to residential.