Campaign to bring empty homes back into use

Campaign to bring empty homes back into use

National Empty Homes Week is from October 16 to 22 and local councils – North Dorset District, West Dorset District, and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council want people to join a national campaign to raise awareness of empty properties in their locality and report them to their local authority.

The 200,000 empty homes nationally include 1,600 in North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland, and 660 of these have been empty for more than two years.

Keeping a home empty can be a waste of a valuable asset and cost owners up to £10,000 per year, according to the councils.

The is a high demand for housing means 4,000 households are on the housing register across the local councils’ areas.

“Bringing an empty home back into use for families is a priority for the councils, “ said Cllr Gill Taylor, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Housing.

“Long-term empty properties can contribute towards the degeneration of an area and can become a focus of anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping or vandalism.

“If brought back into use, these homes can contribute towards the local housing demand, and can be an extra source of income for owners.”

Cllr Tim Yarker, West Dorset District Councils Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “Refurbishing and repairing empty properties helps to improve the look and feel of a neighbourhood. If a property needs renovation, in certain circumstances owners could be eligible for a low cost loan.”

A statement from Wiltshire council read: “Wiltshire Council monitors all long-term empty homes and will encourage owners of empty properties to return them to use. Not only are empty properties a waste of resources at a time when demand for housing is high, they can also have a considerable effect on the surrounding area.  If any member of the public has concerns or would like to report an empty home in Wiltshire, they can complete our on-line report using www.wiltshire.gov.uk/hsgemptypropertyreportingform.”

“We always follow up on the empty properties reported to us so that we can encourage the owners to work with us to bring them back into use.”

When supported by the council, loans for up to £15,000 may be offered through Wessex Home Improvement Loans Ltd. More information about loans and grants can be found via dorsetforyou.com or by contacting Empty Homes Officer on 01305 252469.

Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Leader of North Dorset District Council and Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “We want a positive approach and return as many empty homes back into use as we can.”

To report a property which you believe is empty, contact  Jackie Gaikwad, Empty Homes Officer on  01305 252469 or email housingimprovement@dorset.gov.uk

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