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South West Wiltshire Liberal Democrats

Bringing empty homes into use

December 1, 2011 11:57 AM

Part of the reason we have a housing crisis is that many usable houses stand empty. If they were brought into use we may not need to build as many new homes on the green fields of Wiltshire

Following Liberal Democrat nagging including a notice of motion on empty homes at Full Council last month, WC has announced that Claire Pullan who is a Service Development Officer within Strategic Housing has been allocated the work of an empty homes officer on a full time basis to start from today.

Claire's main focus will not be on enforcement but on providing owners and landlords with options to help them bring their properties back into use. Her work will give a much better picture on the reasons why some properties across Wiltshire have been empty for months

The main priorities of this post will be to:-

  • Maintain a detailed database of all long term empty homes across Wiltshire and work to reduce the number of long term empties registered on the database.
  • Determine the reason the property is empty and negotiate with the owner on how WC can work with them to bring back to use empty homes
  • In conjunction with Council Tax officers conduct visits across the county on empty homes
  • Be the main point of contact for members of the public and councillors to report concerns regarding empty homes
  • Conduct an annual survey of long term empty homes using council tax records
  • Work with owners to look at incentives to encourage bringing back to use empty homes without using enforcement action
  • Work closely with housing options and the new lettings agency to maximise the use of the private sector for households who are threatened with homelessness
  • To conduct a further survey with town and parish council to allow them to highlight any issues / problems in their area associated with long term empty homes

Claire has already started work on developing a database to collect all the required information and will shortly be sending out a questionnaire for all owners of long term empty homes and will encourage them to bring back to use this valuable resource in our housing market.

Claire Pullan can be contacted on 01249 706614, Claire.pullan@wiltshire.gov.uk and is based at Monkton Park in Chippenham.