Extra £1m funding available to develop City’s empty commercial properties

Owners of empty commercial properties are being encouraged to bring their buildings back into use through the No Use Empty (NUE) scheme.

A sunny day at the bottom of Southend high street. On the left is the entrance to the Royals shopping centre. Colourful bunting is hung across the main path between the opposite rows of shops.

Following the success of last year's Southend-led NUE scheme, which provides zero interest loans to business owners who are bringing empty properties back into commercial use, a further £1million of government funding has been made available as the fund opens again for new applications.

The NUE scheme was launched early 2022 and successfully met its first stage target of loaning just over £1m to owners in Southend-on-Sea and across South Essex.

Projects supported to date have included the development of an empty bank premises and an old supermarket building for alternative commercial use, as well as mixed use conversions from commercial to residential.

Cllr Daniel Nelson, cabinet member for economic growth and investment, said: “This additional funding enables us to continue the support of regeneration in our City by unlocking economic growth and creating jobs as more empty commercial properties are brought back into use.

“This latest government funding will support a new batch of loans again, and with recent Bank of England interest rate hikes, the 0% interest on the NUE loans for up to three years is increasingly significant.”

The NUE scheme operates within the local authority areas of Southend-on-Sea, Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford and Thurrock. With loan values for eligible business or individual applicants from £50,000 to £250,000.

Further details and information on how to apply can be found on the South Essex ‘No Use Empty’ webpage or by emailing the team.

Published: 24th August 2023

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