One hundred and fifty empty homes have been brought back into use across West Cheshire, a senior Ellesmere Port councillor has revealed.
Cheshire West and Chester Council launched its approach to the problem just over a year ago with the initiative setting out how it will bring 900 unused dwellings back into use by 2021.
Ellesmere Port St Paul’s ward councillor Angela Claydon (Lab), the council’s housing chief, said: “I am pleased to report that since the launch of our Empty Homes Strategy we are on track to meet the target with 150 empty homes brought back into use during the past year.
“With around 4,500 applicants on the housing waiting list the need for more housing across the borough has never been so important.
“The quickest and easiest way of increasing housing supply is to make better use of our existing housing stock by bringing as many empty homes back into use as possible.”
In addition to bringing the dwellings back into use the council has also introduced a more efficient and effective way of identifying long term empty properties.
It also offers practical advice and support to owners of empty homes with two new services being launched.
The ‘Empty Homes Matching Service’ along with a ‘Buy and Sell’ service have been designed to match empty home owners who wish to sell their home with accredited landlords or property developers who wish to purchase empty homes and bring them back into use.
The council adds: “Despite the range of support and advice available there are occasions where it is necessary to take enforcement action against empty home owners particularly where owners are refusing to engage with council staff.
“An additional officer has now been recruited resulting in an increase in the number of compulsory purchases being considered and where necessary approved.
“Last year a record number of empty home grants and conversion grants were approved helping empty home owners and accredited landlords bring their empty home up to a decent standard.”
Cllr Claydon added: “There is still much more to do but excellent progress is being made in meeting our overall target of bringing 900 empty homes back into use by 2021.
“If you are an empty home owner then I would strongly urge you to contact us to discuss how you can bring your empty home back into use providing much needed accommodation for our residents.”
Interested owners can find out more by contacting the council’s empty homes team on 0300 123 70 38.