Posted: Wed 6th Apr 2016

Interest Free Loans For Housing Improvements /
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Apr 6th, 2016

Property owners across the Vale of Glamorgan are now able to benefit from interest free loans to assist with the cost of improving their premises. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In partnership with Welsh Government, the Vale of Glamorgan Council is offering interest-free loans, to help homeowners carry out essential repairs and bring properties back into use. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

No property is too big or small to be considered for a loan. One particular building proudly displaying the benefits is the Old Fire Station in Barry. The building had been left in a poor state for many years. A damaged roof had left it exposed to the elements, it had considerable rot and dislodged brickwork had left it structurally unsafe. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The building was purchased by Mr Frost in 2014, with the aim of transforming the former fire station into residential units. Needing to raise funds to tackle the restoration and conversion, he was grateful to be approached by the coordinator of the Empty Properties Scheme, a joint Welsh Government and local authority programme, to see if they could offer assistance: “Within days, eligibility was confirmed and the solicitors were arranging the contracts. We were able to borrow £150,000 from the scheme, as soon as we could demonstrate that the value of what we had put into the site to date could be recovered in the worst case. This was a huge benefit to us, as cash flow was very important in the early days. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The loan enabled us to replace the roof, deal with the structural issues and make the building watertight before starting the internal construction. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We have retained a lot of character from the original building and added some good quality industrial warehouse style accommodation, with high ceilings, polished concrete floors and ornate Victorian handmade cornicing and exposed brickwork. Much of the work has been carried out by local companies, for example manufacturing 72 new hard wood reproduction windows and hand crafting the lead dome on top of the tower. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The project is now close to completion with 7 apartments in addition to the former outbuildings. There has been a lot of local interest in the project and we are particularly pleased with what we have been able to achieve and sure it will be back on the map for the next 100 years.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Head of Regeneration and Planning, Marcus Goldsworthy, said: “We are pleased to offer help to property owners in the Vale of Glamorgan to improve their premises. Undertaking repairs and maintenance can be costly and lead to further problems if not carried out. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The interest free loans will allow them to address issues with their property and pay for it simply and sensibly. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We also hope that the loans will help property owners to bring vacant properties back into use. Unfortunately vacant properties can cause problems by attracting anti-social behaviour, vandalism and fly-tipping and they represent a wasted resource when you consider that affordable housing in the region is in short supply.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There will be a loan application fee and applicants will be required to demonstrate their ability to repay the loan within a set period of time. Loans will be secured against the property and will take into account existing mortgages to ensure that the mortgage and/or loan do not exceed 80 per cent of the property’s value. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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