Moving on from rise in empty homes

Empty homes are being targeted in a bid to reduce the housing shortage.

Sunday, 11th December 2016, 7:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 12:32 pm
Northumberland County Council is looking to reduce the number of empty homes in the county. Picture by Matej Kastelic.

Recent figures show there could be more than 40,000 empty homes in the North East, causing a negative image on neighbourhoods.

Now local councils are working together and have established an Empty Property Forum to take a coordinated approach to reduce the number of empty homes and help tackle the housing shortage.

Susan Cousins, chairman of the forum, said “We believe that leaving a property empty is a waste of a valuable resource. We work with the owners to find out why the house is empty and provide the advice and support they need to bring their property back into use. In the last year alone we have helped turn over 1,400 empty properties back into homes people can live in. We are committed to reducing the number of empty homes in our region.”

Northumberland County Councillor, Allan Hepple, cabinet member for housing, said: “We are supporting the national Empty Homes week to increase the focus on this important issue. The council is committed to bringing empty homes back into use, where they can benefit and improve a community.”

“Empty properties can have a negative influence on the sustainability of an area, affecting everything from local businesses to public services, such as schools and transport.

“Working together with other councils in the North East means we can have an even greater impact on communities.”