Empty house is ruining my life

Bert Schofield says the empty house next door to him is such a state that it is affecting his property and health
Bert Schofield says the empty house next door to him is such a state that it is affecting his property and health
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WOULD you want to live next to a house like this?

Bert Schofield, who suffers from heart problems, says the house next-door, which has been left empty for eight years, is blighting his own property.

The 68-year-old, whose own home on Weymouth Road in Marton is immaculate, said: “The council won’t do anything about it. It has had squatters in, the windows have blown in and I had to make sure it got boarded up.

“Scrap merchants have taken lead piping from the property. I’m worried about explosions.

“The window frames are rotten so it’s damp and now the damp is seeping through into my property.

“I’ve had a triple heart by-pass and stents fitted. This kind of worry isn’t good for my health.

“It’s devaluing my property. I’d never be able to sell it with that hellish house next door.”

It is thought the derelict house has been left empty since its owners were taken into care homes.

Mr Schofield’s wife, Anne, 64, says she tried to keep the front garden looking tidy but it became too much.

She said: “The weeds were growing so high and over our fence.

“Some of the plants were getting into the brick work of the house. I chopped it all back and tried to keep it tidy because we didn’t want to see the state of that house next to our property.”

Mr Schofield’s complaint comes just after Blackpool Council announced more than £3m is to be spent on bringing empty homes in some of Blackpool’s most deprived areas back into habitable condition.

The cash, some of which has been provided by the Government, will be used to bring neglected properties in Bloomfield, Talbot and Claremont wards, which have been empty for longer than six months, back into the housing supply.

Mr Schofield added: “If they are doing it in other areas, why can’t they do it in Marton?

“The house is a mess. The post must be so high behind the letter box. It’s a fire hazard. I’m scared about kids knocking about there, they could set fire to it.

“I keep my house immaculate and next-door is derelict.”

Blackpool Council say it is trying to work out a solution to the problem house.

Coun Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “The situation with this empty property is extremely complicated. I have visited this particular property myself and while I understand Mr Schofield’s concerns, it is far from a simple fix.

“We are currently exploring all the possible avenues to ensure that this house can either be properly maintained or sold, but as it is privately owned this is a very difficult procedure.

“We have made sure the property is secured by replacing the windows and maintaining the back garden and encourage the local residents to work with us to try and reach a long term solution.”