4 October, 2023

Success for council teams at Kent Housing Group awards

A team of Thanet District Council officers has been recognised as winners in the ‘Excellence in Private Sector Housing’ category of the Kent Housing Group Awards 2023. The awards – the Oscars for our regional housing sector – celebrate the very best projects, professionals and partnerships across housing in Kent and Medway.

The council’s Private Sector Housing team received the award for their outstanding work on the Thanet District Council vs Tamiz legal case. The team, along with officers from the council’s Legal team, brought a prosecution against four defendants after investigating allegations of criminal activity taking place in a building of 26 flats in Athelstan Road in Margate.

In July 2022, the four defendants were found guilty of a total of 28 offences by a jury at Canterbury Crown Court. The charges included conspiring to unlawfully evict a tenant, conspiring to burgle and conspiring to interfere with, and directly interfering with, the peace or comfort of a residential occupier. They were sentenced in October 2022. The case is believed to be the largest ever prosecution of its type for offences under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

Cllr Helen Whitehead, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “I often emphasise the scale of the work that we do within the Housing team, comparative to our size. We are a small council; but our determination to do our best for residents is huge, and is exemplified by the sheer scale of this case. A small team of officers supported residents and worked tirelessly to bring what is believed to be the largest prosecution of its type. That, to me, sums up both our determination and our ability to perform and deliver for our residents. The bravery of our residents, and the work of our officers has led directly to the removal of some of the most notorious rogue landlords in our district.

“This prosecution was brought to achieve justice for some of the most vulnerable residents in our community and to deter others from committing similar acts. The determination and ambition of the council’s Housing team was clear throughout every step of this process; and it has produced a safer environment for residents, and a historic legal case that sets precedent in both scale and values. I know that for the officers involved their reward will be the protection of residents; but it is deeply gratifying to see the team’s work recognised externally.”

Thanet District Council’s Housing and Planning team was also given a ‘Highly Commended’ accolade in the ‘Excellence in delivering services for vulnerable people’ category, for their innovative Foy House project. Foy House is a repurposed building on Margate High Street. It provides temporary accommodation, with eight self-contained flats and a dedicated officer to support families and individuals as they move on to permanent accommodation. The project also contributed to the ongoing regeneration of Margate. 

Cllr Helen Whitehead recognises this project, and the accolade, as an extraordinary achievement: “Foy House is our first council-owned temporary accommodation project, and a project that we are extraordinarily proud of. It demonstrates our ability to provide for residents and keep them close to family, work, education and support networks. We are already planning further expansion of our council-owned temporary accommodation portfolio; the significance of what we have achieved here, in a climate of national crisis in terms of temporary accommodation, cannot be overstated.”

“I know that for all Kent Housing Group (KHG) members, housing delivery – whatever aspect of housing delivery that is – is a passion, not a job,” Brian Horton, Interim Chair of KHG, told an audience of more than 100 housing professionals who gathered at the awards ceremony at Eastgate in Northfleet on Tuesday 26 September. 

“Over the years the judging panel has been touched by the passion and purpose behind the vital contributions colleagues in housing are making in Kent. The ideas, the innovation and the vision that are demonstrated illustrate the caring side of housing and the drive we have to make a difference. 

“The housing sector faces many challenges but seeing so many success stories gives us enthusiasm for the art of the possible and enables us all to go back to the day job fully inspired by what we have seen and heard.”

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony hosted by Becs Wilcox, Chair of KHG’s Events Group. The Group is thankful for sponsorship from the Kent Housing and Development Group, Southern Housing, Paramount Independent Property Services and the South East Consortium.

You can read more about the awards and the winners in all categories on the Kent Housing Group awards website.

You can read more about the Thanet District Council versus Tamiz prosecution and sentencing on the council’s website.

You can read more about the Foy House temporary accommodation project on the council’s website

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