£668,000 to improve empty homes in Pendle

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Pendle Council has received a Government cash boost of £668,000 to help it tackle the problem of empty homes.

The money is part of nearly £7.6m. of Government funding announced last week to bring empty and derelict homes back into use.

The funding will be spent on refurbishment in areas where empty properties have commonly led to problems such as squatting, rat infestation and collapsing house prices, driving remaining residents away.

Council leader Coun. Joe Cooney, who leads on housing regeneration, said: “This windfall will help us target neighbourhoods affected by empty homes.

“We’re taking part in a Government-funded loan scheme to help people who own empty properties invest in them.

“Our aim is to make empty properties good homes to live in and we’re pleased more money is available for this.

“I urge owners of properties which have been empty for six months or more to get in touch to take advantage of this excellent scheme.

“The deal is that owners can borrow up to 50% of the cost of the work needed to make their properties fit to live in – up to a maximum of £7,500.

“In the next year we aim to use the cash to help provide some decent homes for people.

“In doing so, we’ll also reduce the number of empty and sometimes derelict homes which can cause on blight on neighbourhoods in Pendle.”

The areas in Pendle worst affected by empty homes and which are included in the scheme are the Railway Street area of Brierfield, Waterside in Colne’s South Valley and the Bradley and Southfield areas of Nelson.

Any property owners who would like to consider a loan can contact Paul Lloyd in Pendle Council’s Housing Standards Team on 661029 or email him on paul.lloyd@pendle.gov.uk

Alternatively, people can contact Kellian Shaw, the council’s Empty Homes Officer, on 661022 to get details on how the loans work.

Any work over £15,000 has to be funded by the property owner.

News of the cash boost was given by Communities Minister Don Foster, who said: “The Government is doing everything possible to tackle the problem of empty homes and urban blight.

“The cash will bring people, shops and jobs back to once abandoned areas, and provide extra affordable homes we so badly need.

“We have already made very good progress, cutting the number of long term empty homes by 40,000 but with thousands of people in this country desperate to buy a home and areas still suffering problems of urban blight we must go further still.”