Posted: 12.07.19 at 13:19 by The Editor
A revised strategy to deal with the problems caused by a growing number of empty houses is under consideration by the Vale Council.
Out of 846 houses in the Vale listed as empty for six months or more, 183 are in Penarth.
This is low in comparison to other towns in the Vale but a clear rise in the number of empty houses in the area has been recorded.
A report setting out the council’s thinking says that, ‘’empty properties can be detrimental to the lives of local residents as they are a magnet for crime and antisocial behaviour, they can drive down property values locally and contribute to neighbourhood decline and blight.
''They also represent a risk for the emergency services and put added pressure on various Council teams and service areas.’’
The report suggests that bringing empty homes back into occupation is an important element in the Vale’s housing strategy.
The council has promised to provide more affordable houses across the Vale; with a current target set at around 576 units per annum.
The Vale’s Draft Empty Homes Strategy 2019-2024 proposes a number of actions, to:
• Assemble, maintain and improve the accuracy of empty homes data;
• Provide advice, assistance and financial incentives to reduce the number of long term empty properties;
• Promote the whole Council approach to tackling empty homes;
• Prioritise empty homes for enforcement action;
• Raise awareness of the empty homes issue.
The report states that a ‘voluntary way forward to renovation and re-occupation is always the preferred option’.
It adds: ‘however, if owners cannot be traced or where exhaustive attempts to encourage and promote progress from known owners prove unproductive, or if there is an imminent risk to health and safety, there is little option but to proceed with a statutory solution.’
In this case the council can serve an enforcement Notice requiring the owner to undertake certain works. If they do not complete the work the council can do it and then retrieve the costs.
Long term empty properties can involve a change in ownership which will allow a new owner to do what is necessary to bring the property back into use.
A Vale Cabinet meeting on the 15th of July will determine whether or not to accept the consultative draft strategy before it is put out for public consultation.