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Shropshire Council set to act over empty homes

By Andrew Morris | Property | Published:

There are more than 1,700 empty homes in Shropshire, with council bosses saying they attract vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

Shirehall in Shrewsbury

Shropshire Council’s People Overview Committee will be told that returning these homes to use would have a positive impact on communities.

A report from Karen Collier, regulatory services operations manager at the authority, said there are 1,329 long-term empty properties in the county and a further 455 which are empty and exempt from paying council tax.

Ms Collier said the council is currently working to secure these homes and ensure they do not become a problem.

She said there is also financial incentives for the council in bringing them back to use.

She said: “Returning empty homes back to use can have a positive impact on the local community, providing much needed homes and improving the street scene and reducing anti-social behaviour. Every home returned to use generates additional new homes bonus for the council.

“Under the scheme, the Government matches the council tax raised for each property brought back into use for a period of four years. Direct intervention by regulatory services to return properties to use generates new homes bonus for the council.

“Homes and other buildings left empty are a significant wasted resource, both to their owners and to those in housing need across Shropshire. They can attract vandalism, anti-social behaviour and can be detrimental to an area.

“There are many reasons why properties may become empty, such as the owner being in care, the owner having a lack of skills or finances to manage the property, legal issues such as probate creating delays, inability to sell, imprisonment or a fear of renting.

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“We will investigate if an empty property is insecure or dangerous; it attracts fly-tipping; it attracts anti-social behaviour or the empty state is causing it to be physically damaging to another property. We aim to work with owners of empty homes to resolve these problems and secure the improvement of the empty property.

“We also offer advice for returning their property to use but we will consider enforcement options available to us in accordance with the council’s better regulation and enforcement policy.

The powers include Empty Dwelling Management Orders, enforced sales and compulsory purchase orders.

The topic will be discussed by the council’s people overview committee on Wednesday at 2pm at Shirehall, Shrewsbury.

Andrew Morris

By Andrew Morris
Local Democracy Reporter - @AndyMorrisLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Shropshire.

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