CHESHIRE West and Chester Executive has given unanimous backing to three major initiatives from Ellesmere Port Town Council concerning housing, empty homes and homelessness in the borough.
Members voted to outsource the management of the Ellesmere Port Housing Service to an experienced provider able to achieve the standards of service the council wants for its tenants.
Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for prosperity, pledged there would be full consultation with both the authority’s tenants and staff.
Formal strategies designed to reduce the number of long-term empty homes and homeless people in the borough were also fully supported by the executive.
Cllr Herbert Manley said: “All three are very much interrelated and impact on issues ranging from waiting lists and affordable housing, to vandalism, domestic abuse and drug and alcohol problems.”
Members heard that there are 4,473 empty homes in the borough (2,265 in the private sector) and 2,438 that have been empty for more than six months.
Reducing the numbers of long-term empty houses will increase accommodation, reduce the potential for crime and anti-social behaviour and prevent any blight effect on the local community.
Cllr Manley said: “We will be working in partnership with other organisations such as housing associations to reduce the number of such properties by returning them to use.
“In some instances it may mean taking enforcement action and in others simply persuading owners to sell, or perhaps even just helping would-be owners by advising what grants are available.”
The council has reduced the number people living in temporary accommodation to 21 – meeting theŠGovernment’s 2010 target of 65 one year early.
Up to December 2009, the authority had prevented homelessness in 830 cases.