Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19

Making best use of the existing stock

11.38 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) expects empty housing and empty buildings to be identified and brought back into use in line with local housing and empty homes strategies. As indicated in the Council's housing strategy, the Council is committed to bringing empty properties back into use.

11.39 Thanet has a substantial stock of empty property and vacant dwellings and has an active and robust programme for bringing those properties back into use. The Local Plan identifies an allowance of 540 housing units to come from empty properties being brought back into use. This is based on the position that the properties in question have been empty for a period of 4 years or more. Over that period it can be argued that those properties have been vacant and unused for such a long period that they are no longer available in the housing market and therefore not part of the active housing stock. Such properties brought back into use are returned to the market, so can be included as new housing stock. This will need to be regularly monitored, and is dependent on the Council's Empty Homes programme continuing through the plan period.

 Policy HO23 - Residential use of empty property

Within urban and village confines proposals to bring vacant property into residential use will be approved where:

1) It is compatible with nearby uses, and

2) The proposal would not conflict with any other policy.

11.40 To complement policies aimed at increasing the overall housing stock it is important to retain the existing housing stock in such use.


Policy HO24 - Retention of existing housing stock

Proposals which would lead to the net loss of existing housing (class C3) will only be permitted where:

1) The proposal relates to the provision of community facilities which it can be demonstrated need to be so located to benefit the community and compatible with the residential amenity of the area.

2) The residential use is not appropriately located.

3) The building is unsuitable for residential use in its present form and is not capable of being readily improved or altered to make it suitable.

4) The proposal provides a way of protecting or utilising an important heritage asset.

Any proposals for tourism or retail uses may be permitted subject to conformity with policies E07, E08 and E04.