22nd Sep, 2020

Empty homes plea to meet housing needs

A RALLYING call has been issued to Evesham and Pershore residents to report any empty homes they know of in the town so steps can be taken to bring them back into use.

Wychavon District Council representatives spent time in the Vale last week as part of Action on Empty Homes Week and hope people will continue to inform them about vacant properties.

Officers also want to hear from residents about the impact empty homes are having on their local communities.

Not only does it bring them back into use to help meet the demand for housing but it also reduces the risk of them falling into disrepair and becoming a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

A range of options are available to officers to deal with empty homes including negotiating with the property owner, removing council tax discounts to spur the owner into taking action, enforcing sales and the council taking charge of the property through an Empty Dwelling Management Order.

Between April 2017 and August 2019 a total of 260 empty homes have been brought back into use by Wychavon’s housing team.

Shocking statistics show there are currently 3,019 applicants on Wychavon’s housing register.

Of those 506 are seeking part-ownership and the rest want rented homes.

The figure covers people in the district waiting for affordable housing and does not show the complete local need for homes.

Coun Christopher Day, responsible for housing, health and well-being on Wychavon District Council, said: “With demand for housing so high, there can be no justification for allowing homes to just stand empty.

“That’s why we’ve made tackling this issue a priority.

“Identifying these properties is a challenge though, which is why it’s so important residents let us know about issues they are having with empty homes in their neighbourhood so we can take action.”

Empty homes can be reported online at www.wychavon.gov.uk/empty-homes or call 01386 565490.

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