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South Holland's empty homes list tops 900, government figures reveal




Coun Christine Lawton (2399617)
Coun Christine Lawton (2399617)

More than 900 homes in South Holland are sitting empty, a rate of one in every 44 properties in the area, new figures have revealed.

Information from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government also showed that about 29 per cent of them have been left empty for at least six months.

In October 2017, when the most recent count was taken, there were 906 vacant homes in South Holland.

Of these, 264 were classed as long-term vacancies or houses unoccupied for at least six months.

Coun Christine Lawton, portfolio holder for housing and health at South Holland District Council, said: "We continue to work hard to address the issue of long-term empty homes.

South Holland District Council's offices in Spalding. Photo: SG290114-223NG. (2457689)
South Holland District Council's offices in Spalding. Photo: SG290114-223NG. (2457689)

Coun Christine Lawton, portfolio holder for housing and health at South Holland District Council, said: "We continue to work hard to address the issue of long-term empty homes.

"Whilst the figures for empty homes have increased nationally, our approach in terms of early intervention and proactive working with owners of empty homes delivers by far the most successful outcomes.

"For those owners who appear to have no intention of bringing their properties back in to use, we will take necessary enforcement action."

The problem of empty homes in South Holland has improved compared to 2008 when there were 967 vacant properties in the area.

Coun Lawton said: “As a council, we have been proactive in tackling poor standards of accommodation in the private sector, with a number of prohibition orders served where properties have been sub-standard and the occupiers have been at risk.

“Tackling empty homes continues to be a priority for us and we will continue to work hard to improve on the good work we are already doing."

Government figures showed that across England, there were more than 600,000 vacant properties in October 2017, more than a third of which were long-term vacancies.

They also showed that 232 new homes were built in South Holland last year and, in total, 266 new homes were created which includes conversions from office blocks or houses split into flats.

Speaking to our sister newspaper, the Spalding Guardian last November, MP for South Holland and the Deepings, John Hayes, said: “The Empty Homes Agency estimates that there are hundreds of thousands of homes left empty across the country.

John Hayes (2322046)
John Hayes (2322046)

"But in addition to those that are empty, there are also buildings that could be used to home people, such as flats above shops.

“ Why should you pay less council tax to leave a house empty?”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: "The number of long-term vacant dwellings in England is still lower than when records began, but we are determined to bring this figure down.

"That is why we are equipping councils with tools they need to tackle the issue head on, such as bringing forward legislation that will allow them to double the rate of council tax on those homes left empty for two years or longer."



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