New project seeks to fill empty shops and offices across South Essex

A new scheme has launched to kick start the development and re-use of empty commercial properties across South Essex.

The goal of the No Use Empty South Essex project is to turn between 10 and 15 empty buildings back into occupation across Southend, Basildon, Thurrock, Castle Point, Rochford and Brentwood. This will be achieved by offering interest-free secured loans to owners and developers to support the development of alternative commercial uses, or create mixed-use commercial and residential properties.

Loans are available in multiples of £25,000 up to a maximum value of £175,000, with the maximum loan term being three years. Loans are on a first come, first served basis, subject to approval, and can be provided as ‘top up’ funding – so if a developer cannot secure all the funding that they need from a bank they can ‘top up’ their bank funding with a loan from No Use Empty South Essex.

No Use Empty South Essex will focus on town and city centres and secondary shopping areas, where high streets and other commercial areas have been significantly impacted by changing consumer demand and the after-effects of COVID.

No Use Empty South Essex mirrors the award-winning No Use Empty project originating from Kent County Council, who had their successful ‘Empty Property Initiative’ in full operation for several years. You can see examples of schemes successfully supported with the same funding in Kent at

Further details and information on how to apply can be found on the NUE SE web page or by emailing the team on

The project is backed by £2.2m of Government funding from the Growing Places Fund (£1m) and the Getting Building Fund (£1.2m).