William Eichler 02 May 2019

Councils should ‘invest to save’ by supporting local regeneration schemes

Local authorities should support community-based neighbourhood regeneration approaches to help bring empty homes back into use.

The campaign group Action on Empty Homes’s new report, entitled ‘Community action on empty homes’, lays out plans for tackling the national rise in empty homes.

There are currently over 216,000 empty homes across the UK.

The report brings together lessons from a three-year project focused on six community-led projects bringing empty homes back to use.

It concluded that communities can deliver affordable housing from otherwise wasted resources, and in doing so rebuild essential community infrastructure.

It also said that councils should work with communities to develop neighbourhood improvement plans that tackle empty homes and the wider linked issues.

The report advised the Government to invest in areas with long-term empty homes to enable local authorities, social landlords and community-based organisations to buy or lease empty properties to refurbish them.

‘There are positive and valuable lessons in this report of interest to all those who are concerned with tackling the waste of empty homes across the country,’ said Brighid Carey, author of the report.

‘We want to encourage the creation of more community-based partnerships, to bring empty homes into use for local people and through doing so to help address the persistent underlying issues that keep people locked into poor housing and locked out of a safe, secure and affordable home.’

Will McMahon, director of Action on Empty Homes commented: ‘This new report is also about building the case for a new Government investment programme targeted at areas with high levels of empty homes.

‘We want an investment programme, delivered through local government, to support community-based approaches that refurbish empty properties, meet the needs of local communities and tackle the underlying causes of the high levels of empty homes.’

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