Scheme brings abandoned house back into circulation


Robert Platt

AN EMPTY house which was abandoned more than five years ago has been given a new lease of life.

The property, in Blacon, had suffered from vandalism and had been stripped of its copper.

Council chiefs traced the owner and the property has now been refurbished and made available to a new family.

Cllr Herbert Manley, Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) executive member for prosperity, said: “Empty, abandoned and dilapidated properties can cause misery to neighbouring households and attract antisocial behaviour and this has become something this council takes very seriously.

“And it’s not just the effect these houses have on their neighbourhoods. Each empty property costs its owner £8,000 on average each year in lost rent, maintenance and council tax payments. With the support, advice and grants available we want to encourage owners to make contact with the council to start to ball rolling.”

He added: “We want to continue to work with homeowners and companies such as Empty Home Solutions to bring empty homes back into use in a period where the demand for homes is at an all time high.”

There are currently more than 2,000 empty and abandoned homes across west Cheshire, some in a state of disrepair which causes problems for neighbours with antisocial behaviour, vandalism, graffiti and even squatting.

Andrew Grim, from Chester-based Empty Homes Solutions, said: “This case is another example of how a liability can be transformed into an income-producing asset without any capital investment from the owner.

“This property was fully refurbished using matched funding council grants and our empty homes finance initiative and the owner has been relieved of current monthly expenses such as council tax.

“Once the refurbishment capital is recouped from the rental income the owner will be free of all commitments to Empty Homes Solutions.”

Since the inception of CWaC in 2009 more than 260 empty and abandoned homes have been brought back into use with direct council action.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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