Empty houses problem on the agenda

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PENDLE Council’s Executive will be looking at how to hit the problem of empty homes in Nelson on Thursday.

How the issue is tackled is up for discussion and officers will present the Empty Homes Plan 2012-14 and ask Executive councillors for their comments.

The plan has been drawn up to reduce the negative impact that empty homes can have and also to increase the supply of housing in Pendle. The council’s Housing Regeneration staff have been working to reduce the number of empty properties in the borough for some time.

And the number of long-term empty properties has fallen from 2,131 in 2008/09 to 1,770 in 2011, a total reduction of 361 properties.

Coun. Joe Cooney, leader of Pendle Council who also represents housing and regeneration, said: “Bringing empty homes back into use is vitally important for the borough. It is a way of increasing the supply of housing and reducing the negative impact that neglected empty homes can have on our communities.

“And the more houses we have in use, the more people we have investing in our local economy. We believe that, as a council, it is our duty to do everything we can to bring empty homes back into use and contribute to the vitality and sustainability of Pendle.”

Coun. Tony Beckett, who represents the chief executive’s policy unit, said: “We have recently secured over £1.3 million of external funding from the Government to reduce the number of empty homes in the borough. This money will be used to help deliver actions in the Empty Homes Plan.”

Actions in the plan include:

l Developing an empty property financial assistance scheme for Pendle.

l Working with the owners of empty properties to bring them back into use and developing a toolkit to help them.

l Targeting the homes that have been empty for the longest period of time.

A range of partners have been consulted on the draft Empty Homes Plan, and their input used to help shape it. These include Lancashire Empty Homes Partnership, Pendle Landlords’ Forum, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Lancashire Police Authority and Pendle Community Safety Partnership.

For more information, contact head of policy Paul Hussey on 661667 or paul.hussey@pendle.gov.uk