Dozens of empty homes tackled after government cuts funds
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Communities, Development, Housing
Great Places Housing and Oldham Council have teamed up to bring 33 empty homes back into use.
The council took action to tackle it voids after the government announced that housing market renewal funding for Greater Manchester would be stopped in 2011 - leaving the area with a legacy of empty properties, partially assembled sites, unfinished block improvement schemes and discontent communities.
Following consultation with residents and partners, a plan was agreed by the cabinet in September 2012 which involved the refurbishment of three blocks of properties into affordable housing, with Great Places as the registered provider.
The social landlord is now converting the 33 two-up two-down homes into 21 two, three and four-bed properties, which will be let to local families after the development is finished in March 2014.
Councillor Dave Hibbert, cabinet member for environment and housing, said: “I’m pleased we’ve been able to work co-operatively with Great Places to bring these houses back into use.
“Once HMR funding was so suddenly withdrawn by the Government we knew we had to respond and this project meets the needs of families by bringing homes that were empty, and also blighting the community, back into use.
“Through the Get Oldham Working scheme we are committed to creating 2,015 employment opportunities by 2015 and this development is a great example of this initiative in action. The project has created training opportunities for students and will stand them in good stead when they come to be looking for work.
“I hope that they will be full of pride when they walk past the finished scheme in years to come.”
In other empty homes news, renovation work has started on the first property to receive a loan from the National Empty Homes Loans Fund.
The house in Blyth, Northumberland has been empty for over two years, but following the approval of a loan for £12,000 from the fund, and assistance from Northumberland County Council, full renovation started this week. The house is expected to be let as affordable housing within weeks.
The fund was launched this month, with the aim of making loans available to owners of empty homes to bring them into affordable use.
The property's owner, Paul Calder, said: “Without this loan it would have been difficult or impossible to get the house renovated.”
David Ireland OBE, chief executive of Empty Homes, said: “It’s fantastic to see tangible results of the National Empty Homes Loans Fund so quickly. I look forward to this becoming a home again and seeing the new occupants walk through the front door.”