Why are these homes still empty?

There are more than 500 empty homes in Wyre.
There are more than 500 empty homes in Wyre.
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Concerns have been raised over hundreds of homes standing empty in Wyre.

And despite a Wyre Council project to restore privately owned properties to get them back on the market through funding from the Homes and Communities Agency, the tally of unoccupied homes remains high.

The current number of properties which have been unoccupied for six months or longer is 557 – 62 fewer than last year.

But Pete Ryan, chairman of Thornton Action Group, said the focus should be on restoring and filling the homes instead of building new 

He said: “It depends on the standard of the home but empty homes staying empty, when they could be used to house single people or families, should not be wasted.

“Nobody likes to be living next to one for an extended period and when it’s empty for a long time it’s worrying.

“We ought to be giving as much attention as possible to the re-use of properties, if it’s economically viable, to bring the buildings to a viable standard rather than building new houses.

!We should be helping as much as we can to restore what we already have.”

In July, Wyre Council received £100,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency to purchase and renovate eyesore homes blighting neighbourhoods.

Coun Roger Berry, Wyre Council’s neighbourhood portfolio holder, revealed in a full council report that the authority has worked with Regenda – their social housing provider – to purchase five empty homes.

Two have already been fully renovated and are occupied, one is being revamped at the moment while work will begin on another two at the end of this month.

Fylde Coast YMCA is also working with the council and has leased one previously empty property, a leasing agreement has been signed by the owner of another and agreements are in place for another six empty homes.

Penny Martin, leader of Wyre Council’s Labour Group, said: “Developers want to build three or four bedroom homes because that’s what they prefer but it’s not what the need is.

“Everyone should be doing their bit because councils do not have a lot of funding at the moment.

“The anecdotal evidence we have heard is that people in Wyre are having to look further afield for accommodation because there’s only need for larger properties in Wyre.”

A spokesman for Wyre Council said: “We are committed to ensuring that as many of these are brought back into use as possible and have been proactive in encouraging owners to do so.

“We continue to take enforcement action on a small number of problematic empty homes causing a nuisance in our neighbourhoods.”

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