Pendle works hard to reduce empty homes

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Pendle Council is continuing its efforts to bring empty properties across the borough back into use. And during Empty Homes Week, which began on Monday, it is pledging its support to the Government’s Empty Homes Agency campaign.

Council leader Coun. Joe Cooney, who has responsibility for Housing Regeneration, said: “We’re wholly committed to tackling empty homes and last year we were recognised as one of the top 25 councils in the UK for bringing long-term empty houses back into use.

“Since 2008, the number of empty homes in the borough has fallen from 2,100 to 1,200, which is a fantastic achievement! Empty properties can fall into disrepair and become a blight on their neighbourhood, so it’s really important that we tackle this issue head on.”

He highlighted that in April this year, the council introduced an Empty Homes Premium. He said: “Introducing this surcharge has encouraged owners to bring their homes back into use. In particular, it’s benefited areas where there were clusters of empty properties which were attracting anti-social behaviour.”

Paul Lloyd, housing standards manager, said: “We provide a lot of help to owners of empty properties, offering advice and financial assistance to help them bring them back into use. Since employing an Empty Homes Officer in 2009, there’s been a marked decrease in the number of empty homes.

“This dedicated officer is working with the owners to find ways of returning the properties back into use. We’ve set up an Empty Property Loan Scheme and over the past two years we’ll have awarded £750,000 of loans. These are interest free for three years.”

Pendle Council is also tackling its empty properties through the East Lancashire Private Sector Leasing Scheme.

Properties are managed on behalf of non-commercial landlords, such as those who may have inherited a property, are reluctant to sell or who are inexperienced in letting out their homes. This has so far helped to bring about 85 properties back into use.

If anyone wants to find out more about how Pendle Council can help, contact Paul Lloyd on 661029 or if you’d like more information on the loans or The Private Sector Leasing Scheme, contact Empty Homes Officer Jake Piergies, on 551021.