Plymouth City Council has served a Compulsory Purchase Order on a house that has been a derelict eyesore for years.
The Secretary of State has approved the Council’s application for a CPO on the house in Widey Lane which has been subject to vandalism and anti-social behaviour. The site was where the Council launched its Plan for Empty Homes last year.
It is hoped that the Council will be in ownership of the house by mid-May when it will then be able to sell it on at auction in the summer in order to find a new owner who will bring it back into use. The Plan for Empty Homes aims to bring 200 empty homes back into use.
It is part of a range of measures the Council is taking to tackle empty homes, which has seen 500 vacant and often derelict buildings back into use in Plymouth over the past five years. One of the flagship projects was the conversion of the former Job Centre in Hoegate Street, Asa House, into 30 affordable flats. The building had been empty for ten years.
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Cooperatives and Housing for Plymouth City Council, said: “We are committed to tackling the blight of empty homes and we are pleased the Secretary of State has approved the CPO of Widey Lane, which has been a blot on the landscape for many years.
“The Council is doing everything in its power, working with local housing providers and the National Empty Homes Agency, to make better use of vacant buildings, and over the past five years has helped bring almost 500 previously unused homes back into use.
“As highlighted by Plymouth’s Fairness Commission report, empty homes are a wasted housing resource for the city and with 12,000 people on the housing waiting list we can’t afford not to be doing this.
Empty homes also blight neighbourhoods; attract vermin, fly-tipping and arsonists, and can reduce the value of properties nearby by up to 20 per cent.”
In addition to bringing 200 homes into use, other key actions in Plymouth’s Plan for Empty Homes include:
- Develop redundant commercial premises working with local businesses
- Proactively approach empty home owners and offer them an Empty Property Sales Service to save the cost of marketing their property for sale
- Enforcement action – owners who refuse offers of help may be subject to enforcement action via use of Compulsory Purchase Orders, Enforced Sale Orders and Empty Dwelling Management Orders
- Offering a Lease and Repair service to help fund the renovation of empty properties, to bring them up to a letting standard and then lease from owners for an agreed period of time.
Since the launch of the Plan for Empty Homes in January 2015 78 empty homes have been brought back to use by the intervention of the Council’s Housing Delivery Team.