Council prioritises problem of empty homes as sale of 264th abandoned property gets underway
8 May 2012
Cheshire West and Chester Council is cracking down on owners of abandoned and empty properties - that’s the tough message as the 264th house to be brought back into use since 2009 goes under the hammer.
There are more than 2,000 empty and abandoned homes across west Cheshire, often left in a state of disrepair and causing problems for neighbours, suffering from antisocial behaviour, vandalism, graffiti and even squatting.
The Council’s Empty Homes team works with owners to bring properties back into use and offers advice, support and grants to help them.
Following four years of neighbour complaints, more than 400 emails, a succession of letters and phone calls and Police involvement, the team decided attempts to persuade the owner of a property in Upton, Chester to bring the property back into use had been unsuccessful and obtained it by compulsory purchase.
It is now for sale by informal tender on the open market with a clause in requiring improvement and occupation within a certain timescale.
Executive Member for Prosperity, Councillor Herbert Manley, said: “Empty, abandoned and dilapidating properties can cause misery to neighbouring households and attract antisocial behaviour and this has become something this council takes very seriously.
“Officers had attempted to convince the owner of the empty house in Upton to take action to remedy the situation for over three years, yet despite an undertaking by the owner no improvements ever materialised and we were forced to take action.
“It has been a long process but one that will now lead to the improvement and reoccupation of the house. We are sending out a clear message that wasting housing resources will not be tolerated when the demand for homes is at an all time high.”
The empty house in Upton had become a major issue for immediate neighbours after being abandoned over 10 years ago.
It had started to attract anti social behaviour, with youths gathering on the premises, windows being smashed and Community Police officers attending at the request of neighbours.
When appeals to the owner to renovate the property failed, the
Council served legal notices requiring repairs to secure the house
against unlawful entry. No action was taken by the owner so the
work was carried out by the Council.
The owner was served with a legal notice to confirm ownership and other legal interests in the property but did not take action and the Council successfully prosecuted them for non-compliance.
A Compulsory Purchase Order was obtained and the property will now be sold and returned to use.
Since the inception of the council in 2009 more than 260 empty and abandoned homes have been brought back into use with direct council action. With empty homes ranking high on the council’s priorities the target set for 2012/13 has risen to 125 more per year.
The Upton property is now available for sale by informal tender with a deadline for tenders of 12pm, Monday, 14 May. Renovation requirements are in place. For more information or to place in a tender please contact Property services on 01244 977170.