Council gets tough with Compulsory Purchase Order


Councillor Penberthy outside 7 Widey Lane which was subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order due to severe state of disrepair.

Councillor Penberthy outside 7 Widey Lane which was subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order due to severe state of disrepair.

Plymouth City Council is getting tough on neglected empty homes by using a Compulsory Purchase Order on a property that has been out of use for over a decade.

As part of the Council’s new Plan for Empty Homes, the CPO has been granted on the property at 7 Widey Lane, which has been the source of complaints going back as far as 2002.

The move follows continued attempts to engage with the owner about improving the property, including serving the owner with notice in 2013 under Section 15 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and prosecuting them for non-compliance in 2014.

Councillor Chris Penberthy said: “The Council is committed to reducing the number of empty homes in the city and this particular property in Widey Lane has caused problems for local residents for a number of years.

“We have received numerous complaints over the years regarding the nuisance caused to neighbours by the property’s general poor condition and appearance, which neighbours consider to be detrimental to the area. The roof’s covering is in very poor condition and the tarpaulin that was put in place to cover missing slates has now dislodged revealing holes which will be causing water to penetrate and damage the interior of the building.

“Despite both the Housing Delivery Team and the Legal Team writing to and telephoning the owner to establish what she is intending to do with the property, she took no action and the property is now in a seriously dilapidated state.”

“Since the start of 2014 the Council has tried to help the owner to complete a voluntary sale to a third party. Unfortunately the owner has not engaged with the Council and the sale has stalled due to the owner not producing the necessary documents to proceed the sale.

“The Compulsory Purchase Order is very much a ‘last resort’ but after exhausting all other avenues the Council has been forced to take this tough action.

“Empty homes are a wasted housing resource for the city and we are determined to do all we can over the next four years to bring them back into use.”

Believe it or not behind all this overgrown garden is a house at 7 Widey Lane.

Believe it or not behind all this overgrown garden is a house at 7 Widey Lane.

During the past five years the Council has successfully brought 493 previously unused homes back into use, through a combination of advice, support and, where necessary, enforcement action.

The Compulsory Purchase Order will allow the Council to find a developer, sell it on promptly to recover costs, and ultimately ensure the property is repaired, renovated, and brought back into housing use. For more information on the Council’s new Plan for Empty Homes go to www.plymouth.gov.uk/emptyhomes