Empty properties in Cornwall
There was an interesting article in the Observer yesterday about bringing empty homes back into use, in particular in Cornwall. With the current shortage of properties, it is a scandal that there are some 920,000 properties empty nationwide.
Given the estimated £10,000 investment per property to bring it back into use compared to £90,000 subsidy to built it from scratch, it makes very good sense. For example on those figures, the £2 million set aside by Cornwall to get some of its 3,597 properties back into use, would give 200 properties as opposed to about 22.
However Cornwall seems to be doing better than that, as the article reports 131 having brought back into use so far with a further 350 by the end of 2013. Well done Cornwall! Mind you, still some way to go though.
Other areas taking action
However, Cornwall is not the only county taking action. According to the article Kent and Bristol are making respectable efforts to deal with the problem.
I hope the efforts succeed, and that compulsory purchase orders WILL be made against recalcitrant property owners.
Incidentially, the article only mentions compulsory purchase orders and not the Empty Dwelling Management Orders which came into force a few years ago. Are these not being used?
One problem mentioned by the article is MOD military bases which have been shut and the houses left to rot. This seems on the face of it, unacceptable. Can nothing be done about them?
It also seems unhelpful to say the least, that mortgage companies are unwilling to lend on homes which have been empty for more than six months.
It would be great to learn what other local authorities are doing about empty properties, and how successful they have been.