Plymouth is making great progress in bringing empty homes across the city back into use, as we mark Empty Homes Week (28 November – 2 December 2016).
Earlier this year Plymouth City Council launched its refreshed Plan for Empty Homes with £1 million to help bring 375 empty homes back into use by 2021.
Plymouth was also praised by the national Empty Homes charity and used as a case study, for our work on bringing Asa House, the former Job Centre in Hoegate Street which stood derelict for ten years, back into use by converting into 30 affordable flats, thanks to a partnership between the Council, Empty Homes charity, the Homes and Communities Agency, and Chapter 1 Charity. The building is now managed by Mears Plexus.
Jeni is a tenant at Asa House with partner James and daughter Maiya. Jeni said: “I’m really pleased with the property, I think they’ve done a great job. It’s a great idea to bring all these empty buildings back into use. Turning the old job centre into flats means that 30 people have now been helped and got somewhere to live.”
Councillor Steve Ricketts, Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing Delivery for Plymouth City Council, said: “An empty home is a wasted home, they can attract vermin, increase the risk of break-ins, vandalism, arson and can devalue neighbouring homes by as much as 20%.
“There are currently 678 homes in Plymouth which have been empty for more than six months, whilst 8973 households are registered on Devon Home Choice in need of accommodation. That’s why we are committed to making better use of empty and brownfield sites as well as helping more people in Plymouth find a place they can call home.
“Our work to tackle empty homes will also improve the local environment by removing eyesore derelict properties and the anti-social behaviour they often attract, so it is a win-win situation. I have seen for myself when visiting different parts of the city how long-term empty homes really can blight local communities and we are determined to do all that we can about that as one of our priorities.”
You can watch a short video of Councillor Ricketts meeting Jeni and Maiya to discuss Empty Homes week here.
Councillor Patrick Nicholson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Housing, Transport and Planning for Plymouth City Council, said: “We are committed to delivering 5,000 new homes in the city between now and 2021 and bringing empty homes back into use is one of the best ways for us to do this.”
Plymouth City Council’s Plan for Empty Homes will also:
- Bring in an estimated 87 jobs in building and supply chains,
- Result in more streamlined legal action against owners who persistently allow their properties
- Establish a new empty homes financial assistance policy to help owners to sell, let or owner occupy their empty homes through new grants and loans.
- Reduce carbon emissions – reusing empty homes can make an initial saving of 35 tonnes of carbon dioxide per property in comparison to building a new home (Building and Social Housing Foundation, 2008).
Don’t forget the Council’s Empty Home Surgery at our 1st Stop in New George Street from 10am to 12pm on the first Wednesday of every month. No appointment needed.
You can also report an empty property via our website here: http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/homesandproperty/emptyhomes/reportemptyhome