Cheshire West and Chester Council is keen to ensure that as many of the 4,000 empty homes in the borough are brought back into use - 1,800 of which have been empty for six months or more.

The council has launched a new empty homes strategy setting out how it will work with empty home owners to bring the homes back into use.

Cllr Angela Claydon, Cabinet member for housing, said: “Our new empty homes strategy was first consulted on last year; all respondents agreed with us that empty homes are a wasted resource and must be brought back into use. Our target is to bring 900 empty homes back into use over the next five years.

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“There a number of ways that the council can assist owners such as providing financial assistance as well as giving advice and support.”

The strategy also details the Empty Homes Matching Service, an initiative matching empty home owners who wish to sell their home with private landlords who are accredited with the Cheshire Landlord Accreditation Scheme wishing to purchase an empty home and bring it back into use.

The council has made available funds to compulsory purchase empty homes particularly where the owner is refusing to engage with officers and the home has been empty for a long period of time.

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Cllr Claydon explained: “I am very keen to ensure that the council does everything it can to bring as many empty homes back into use. Long term empty homes are a wasted resource and often blight our neighbourhoods.”

If you are an empty home owner and need advice or financial assistance in bringing your home back into use, or you are an accredited landlord wishing to find out more information about the Empty Homes Matching Service, contact the Empty Homes Team on 0300 123 70 38.