A SCHEME to bring long-term empty homes back into use has been backed by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Executive.
Members unanimously approved the introduction of an empty homes premium which would see the council tax charge rise to 150% once a property had stood vacant for two years.
Cllr Les Ford, executive member for resources, said the move is aimed at prompting owners to put empty properties on to the market.
He said: “By setting an extra premium – 50% above the council tax payable – we are creating as big a deterrent as possible to people who choose to leave a house empty.
“We take the issue of empty homes very seriously indeed and that is the main thrust of these proposals.”
Members also backed changes to council tax discounts which are estimated to deliver a combined additional income for the authority of more than £2m per year.
Subject to endorsement by full council, the changes are expected to take effect from April.