Empty homes cash

Coun Gillian Campbell (below) welcomed the success of the bid to bring more empty homes back into use.
Coun Gillian Campbell (below) welcomed the success of the bid to bring more empty homes back into use.
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MORE than £3m is to be spent bringing empty homes in some of Blackpool’s most deprived areas back into habitable condition.

The council has received £1.6m from the Government, and will provide the rest of the cash itself under a match-funding agreement.

Coun Gillian Campbell

Coun Gillian Campbell

Cash will be used to bring mainly neglected terraced homes and former guesthouses – often blighted by vandalism and anti-social behaviour – back into the housing supply.

Properties in Bloomfield, Talbot and Claremont wards which have been empty for longer than six months are eligible.

Housing chiefs expect around 100 homes in the resort to be converted or refurbished at a cost of around £30,000 each, with work due to be completed by March 2014.

They will work with property owners, who will also be encouraged to invest some of their own cash into the scheme.

Homes will either be owner-occupied, or can be rented out but only to working families.

Coun Gillian Campbell, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “I’m pleased our bid for this funding has been successful, as it will allow us to bring a lot of empty homes in Blackpool back into every day use. Empty houses which are standing bare are no use to anyone. Our plans will transform them into good family homes, which will bring families out of the current substandard accommodation and into living conditions which will allow them to prosper.”

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Steve Matthews, head of strategic housing at Blackpool Council, added: “We will be working with existing owners in the wards which have the highest concentration of empty properties.

“Funding is available to convert or reburbish these properties and bring them back into use.

“It could be that we have a programme whereby the council does the work in order that we can control the quality.”

Blackpool is one of 20 councils nationally which have successfully bid for a share of £26m.

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said: “The number of empty homes in this country is a national disgrace. For every two families that need a home there is one standing empty.”

Inquiries about the scheme can be made by calling (01253) 477477.

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