**News Item 01.05.13 - Landscaping
As part of the project for Barrow Island Flats - see below - the
Council plans to improve the public space around the flats. The
Landscape Institute is running a competition on behalf of the
Council to appoint suitable landscape architects to produce a
design to improve the public areas surrounding the flats. Details
of the competition can be found at http://www.landscapeinstitute.org/events/competitions.php
Funding allocation for Barrow Island
The Council has been allocated £3.4m from the Clusters of Empty
Homes Fund to help bring empty properties back into use. This fund,
totalling £60m across England, was set up to deal with
neighbourhoods where more than 10% of properties are empty, and
where at least 100 homes can be brought back into use. Barrow
Island was selected for a bid as the only area in the Borough
that met these criteria, and a bid was submitted to bring empty
homes back into use in the Barrow Island Flats. More detail on the
fund can be found from the
Homes and Communities Agency
What will the funding be used for?
Barrow Island Flats are four storey traditional flats
(pictured) which are approximately 100 years old. There are
about 750 flats in total, which are all in private ownership
and are rented out.
The bulk of the money will be used to work with the the owners
of the largest two property portfolios. Together,
these contain around 600 flats. The owners
are already planning a programme of improvements to provide
better quality accommodation. Clusters of Empty Homes funding will
be used to provide loans that will allow the programme of
refurbishment to be accelerated. This will bring the
properties back to a lettable condition and stimulate demand for
the flats. Because the funding is to be used for loans rather than
grants, over time it will be repaid by the owners to the
About a third of the fund will be used to carry out
a programme of improvements to the environment around the
Flats. This will improve the general appearance of the
neighbourhood and make it more attractive as a place to live.
A condition of the funding allocation is that the
Government money has to be matched by investment from elsewhere.
For Barrow Island, this match funding will come from the private
owners, so the public investment will draw at least the same
amount of private investment.
We are currently working on the detail of this funding
programme, and will provide further information here as it becomes
available. However, the funding has to be committed by March 2014.
The Council adopted a policy that will allow these grants to
be paid at its meeting on 16th October.
This activity is consistent with the Council's general policy on
tackling Empty Homes, which can be downloaded here.
Any queries should be directed to the contact details at the bottom
of this page.