North Somerset Council unveils plan to crack down on area’s 1,400 empty homes
PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 January 2017
The number of unoccupied homes in North Somerset has fallen by more than a third in the past five years – but there are still more than 1,000 properties vacant across the district.
There are 1,460 empty homes in North Somerset, which is 34 per cent less than in 2011, and 223 of these homes have been empty and unfurnished for more than six months.
North Somerset Council now says it wants to raise awareness of this issue as part of its new empty homes action plan, which will run until 2021.
During its previous empty homes delivery plan, the council said it had offered help and advice to people who owned vacant properties.
In a report into the decision to set up a new action plan, a council spokesman said: “During the course of the previous empty homes plan and as a result of interventions by North Somerset Council, 112 homes have been brought back into use (since 2011).
“Throughout the term of the previous plan, we have continued to contact and attempt to engage with owners of empty homes across the district.
“Utilising data gained from council tax records, we have recorded details of properties that have been empty and unfurnished for at least six months and contacted owners of these empty properties to offer advice and information about the help available to them from the council.”
The council’s new empty homes plan states the authority will look into ways of helping owners bring empty properties back into use and will look into ways of gaining funding for projects which will enable the council to turn vacant properties back into homes.
The report said: “We will raise the awareness of empty homes within the wider community and the actions the council takes to bring homes back into use.
“By publicising the actions and interventions available to the council, we will highlight the support available for owners of empty properties and encourage members of the public to notify the council when they are aware of an empty home in their community.”