Vow to tackle the blight of houses ly­ing empty in city

Warwickshire Telegraph - - NEWS - Si­mon Gil­bert News re­porter

A NEW strat­egy which could help tackle hous­ing prob­lems in the city has been given the nod.

Coven­try City Coun­cil’s new Empty Homes Pol­icy has been given the goa­head and will aim to en­sure empty homes will not re­main un­used un­nec­es­sar­ily or be­come derelict.

The main fo­cus of the pol­icy is on homes which are un­used for a con­sid­er­able pe­riod of time and, in cases, may have aban­doned for some been years.

The coun­cil fears that if it does not in­ter­vene these houses may never come back into use.

Coun Ed Ruane, cab­i­net mem­ber for hous­ing, her­itage and sport, said: “Bring­ing empty prop­er­ties back into use is a key pri­or­ity for us.

“There is a need for additional ac­com­mo­da­tion units within the city and empty homes are a wasted re­source and be­come a drain on pub­lic funds.

“It is im­por­tant that we get aban­doned homes back into circulation be­cause if they are left for any length of time they can quickly fall into dis­re­pair and af­fect the en­v­i­ron- men­tal qual­ity of the neigh­bour­hood. Of­ten these houses be­come mag­nets for fly-tip­ping, anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, van­dal­ism and ar­son.

“We have re­cently used our pow­ers to force the sale of a long term empty and semi-derelict property in Hol­brooks. This is a clear state­ment of our in­tent to con­tinue with this course of ac­tion.”

The coun­cil says it has brought more than 1,500 empty homes back into use over the last five years. There are an es­ti­mated 134,181 prop­er­ties in the city and, since 2012, the num­ber of empty homes has dropped from 2,587 to 1,179 – less than one per cent of the city’s hous­ing stock.

The new pol­icy will look to re­duce the num­ber of empty homes across the city even fur­ther by iden­ti­fy­ing the own­ers and work­ing with and of­fer­ing ad­vice to the own­ers of empty homes to make sure empty homes in Coven­try are kept to a prac­ti­cal min­i­mum.

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