STROUD District Council has launched a new interest free loan scheme to bring unused properties back into use and provide more affordable housing opportunities in the area.

Councillor Chris Brine, chair of Stroud District Council’s Community Services Committee, said: “This new scheme will help owners turn their empty properties into much needed homes in the district and also provide them with rental income. Bringing empty homes back into use can also help tackle homelessness, prevent neighbourhood decline and help regenerate areas.”

The Stroud District Council Empty Homes Loan is an interest free loan to help owners of empty properties return them to use as affordable rented housing. If their property has been empty for over 12 months homeowners may be eligible for a loan of up to £15,000 for repairs and refurbishment. The loan would have to be repaid in full when the property is sold or is no longer available for rent as an affordable home.

Councillor Brine added: “Council tax discount for empty homes has already been reduced to encourage owners of empty properties to put them back into use, but hopefully this ‘carrot’ approach of interest free loans will incentivise people further and help us increase the number of affordable rented homes which are so desperately needed.”

The council’s most recent survey identified 242 empty homes in the district.

For more information, call the Stroud District Council on 01453 754449 or email