Blandford empty home project scoops prestigious award

A PROJECT that saw an empty Blandford home brought back into use has scooped a prestigious national award.

Dorset Council oversaw the renovation of the property, in West Street, for use 4as accommodation by people in need.

And work by the council’s Housing Standards Team has been recognised at the Empty Homes Network conference.

Neglected for 20 years, the Grade II-listed building has been transformed into a home for locals.

With the cost of refurbishment higher than expected due to the age or the property, Dorset Council was able to work with project partners to get the scheme ‘over the line’, providing an innovative blend of grants and loans.

READ MORE: Work to bring empty Blandford house back into use completed

In exchange for the additional funding the owners, a charitable trust, leased the building to the council with nomination rights for the next 10 years.

A spokesperson for the Empty Homes Network said: “Dorset Council and Lendology have developed a seamless relationship that complements each other’s strengths, to provide support and financial assistance through a challenging set of circumstances.

“Resulting in not only a property being brought back into use, the leasing of the property to the local authority has ensured that the property will be occupied and managed to suit local need, reduce the reliance on B&B and temporary accommodation, and remove a blight from a busy marketplace.”

West View, in Blandford, has been restored

West View, in Blandford, has been restored

Graham Carr Jones, lead member for housing at the council, said: “The main beneficiaries are of course the people that can now call the property home where they can be settled and thrive.

“We overcame a range of obstacles to make this happen in partnership with Lendology and our shared vision of bringing this property back to life no matter what was key to a successful outcome.”

Emma Lower, CEO of Lendology, added: “Empty homes are a valuable resource being put to waste at a time when housing is so important.

“We understand the challenges people face in financing and renovating empty homes, and a lot of homeowners are unaware of the lending scheme funded by Dorset Council.

“Our unique approach to lending allows us to solve a range of finance issues in local communities and we love turning empty houses into loved homes.”

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.