Bringing homes back to life

Jack, Diane and Georgia Taylor have moved into a previously empty home in Fleetwood.

Jack, Diane and Georgia Taylor have moved into a previously empty home in Fleetwood.

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A family has become one of the first to move into an empty home as part of a town hall bid to restore eyesore properties and put them back on the market.

The Taylor family – mum Diane, 15-year-old daughter Georgia and 11-year-old son Jack – moved into the home in Fleetwood after Wyre Council and housing association Regenda received £100,000 from the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency to 
repair run-down homes.

Since receiving the cash, the authority has worked with Regenda – the council’s housing group – to restore the house, on Lowther Road.

It is one of the first of 11 properties to be purchased and then revamped under the scheme.

Mrs Taylor said: “It’s a fresh start for me and the children and we are now looking forward to Christmas in our new home.

“The house is warm and cosy and we are absolutely thrilled with it.

“I’m told by my new neighbours that the property had been unoccupied for a long time and was in a terrible state.

“By the time I saw it the house had already been transformed and was soon ready to move into.

“My neighbours are really pleased because the renovation has improved their outlook too.”

Community leaders have previously raised concerns about the number of empty homes in Wyre.

In October, the number of empty homes unoccupied for six months or longer was 557 . That is 62 fewer than last year but council bosses say they are now working on reducing that figures further.

Coun Roger Berry, cabinet member with responsibility for housing at Wyre Council, said: “The latest figures show that as a percentage of our housing stock, Wyre has fewer empty properties than anywhere else in Lancashire.

“Nonetheless we are working hard to bring the ones we do have back into use.

“Over the coming months we’ll be focusing particular attention on those homes empty for longer than two years and those causing a nuisance and having a detrimental effect on their neighbourhoods.”

Tracy Heyes, Regenda’s executive director of operations, said: “There is a huge demand for quality, affordable homes and this is an excellent example of how empty and neglected private housing can be saved and brought back up to a high standard.

“Families like Mrs Taylor and her children clearly reap the benefits and so do entire local communities.”

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