People have until this Friday (December 4) to have their say on the approach to empty dwellings in Cheshire West and Chester.
At the start of the consultation the borough’s housing chief said she was ‘saddened’ by the 4,100 homes which lie unoccupied in the area.
The comment came from Ellesmere Port St Paul’s ward councillor Angela Claydon (Lab) as the council encouraged people to give their views on the issue.
Cllr Claydon, a former housing chief for Ellesmere Port and Neston district council, now holds the Cabinet post on Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The council is asking for views on its strategy which could see 900 long term empty properties brought back into use over the next five years.
It has been disclosed there are 4,096 empty homes across Cheshire West and Chester and of these 1,795 have been empty for six months or longer.
Cllr Claydon said: “It saddens me that at this time of real housing need there are so many empty homes across our borough.
“Every empty home is a wasted resource particularly when housing is in such short supply.”
The council’s empty homes service provides a range of measures from providing advice and support as well as financial assistance for the owner of an empty home to bring it back into use.
When an empty home is reported on 0300 123 70 38, the council’s empty homes officer will contact the owner and carry out a risk assessment.
The approach is to work in partnership with the owner and provide technical advice and support. However, if owners are not willing to co-operate the council can take other action including compulsory purchase.
To help bring the borough’s empty homes back into use financial help may be available for owners. The most popular assistance is an empty home grant which can be used to carry out improvement works.
For those who want to let their home but it needs bringing up to standard, a shared equity empty home loan is available.
Cllr Claydon added: “The results of the consultation will be used to finalise the strategy as well as the priorities the council will put in place to help bring homes back into use.”
She said: “If you are a home owner and struggling to make the property habitable please contact us.” The consultation lasts until midnight on Friday.People can give views online at www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/emptyhomestrategy . A paper copy can be requested by emailing email@example.com.