Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Empty Homes -an issue for Southport.

Well over 2000 homes are empty in Southport. Some have been left vacant for years. Whilst out canvassing on Sunday resident drew our attention to two such homes and several others are known to me. This issue impacts in several ways:

  • neighbours get very upset when they are striving to keep the property in good order when there is a neglected house in the street
  • there is a health risk from neglected properties from vermin, decaying structures etc
  • worst of all someone else is deprived of a home -especially when we have such a severe shortage
  • new homes are being proposed in the Green Belt before empty ones are brought back into use
Councillors are looking at ways to deal with this problem and there is a meeting tonight which will address the issue Our MP, John Pugh, has also been taking this issue up in parliament:

 John Pugh MP (Southport, Liberal Democrat)

What are the Government doing about empty homes and, in particular, homes above shops as a way of easing pressure on the green belt?

Andrew Stunell (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government; Hazel Grove, Liberal Democrat)

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. We now have some 700,000 empty homes, of which over 300,000 have been empty for more than six months, and it remains a key priority of this Government to bring them back into use so that some of the 1.7 million families on council house waiting lists and the many more who would like to purchase their homes can do so.

Personally I welcome the move by the Government to tax empty properties at the full level of Council Tax. We have far too many properties left vacant above shops that could be brought into use and others where absent owners are just waiting for the property price to rise.

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