Anger as 1,000 homes are empty
Too many homes are left empty in Conwy and need to be brought back on the market a councillor has said.
Now, Cllr Aaron Wynne, has called for the homes to be bought up to tackle the housing crisis.
According to Conwy Council’s local housing strategy, there are 1,194 long-term empty properties and 1,460 second homes in the county.
In the same county there are 891 families who are classed as being in some form of housing need.
Meaning there is a need to build 231 affordable houses a year to meet demand.
Llanrwst Councillor, Aaron Wynne, wants local authorities and social landlords to “think outside the box” by transforming empty properties into social housing, as “radical action” is needed to relax the current housing crisis.
He said: “There’s an eye-watering 1,000 long-term empty properties in the county of Conwy. A ridiculously high number.
“Conwy has 891 households in housing need registered for social housing, with one in ten waiting three years or longer. We clearly need a new, bold and ambitious plan to make homes accessible to locals.
“I want to see the council, the Welsh government and Registered Social Landlords work with owners of long-term empty properties to bring these homes back into use, and added into the social rented stock.
“This would be huge undertaking, but as the building of social rented housing has stagnated for the last 20 years or so, we need to reinvent the way we add homes to the social rented stock, as demand continues to spike.
“Returning these long-term empty properties back into use would help relax the housing crisis in Conwy, without the need to build hundreds of expensive, out-of-reach homes on our precious green land.”
Earlier this month the cabinet voted to open a public consultation on housing needs in the county.
Conwy County Borough Council is working with Cartrefi Conwy to try to bring properties back into use.
The consultation will run until November 8, and people are being asked for their comments about how the council plans to work with owners to help them bring properties back into use.
The authority said funding towards the work to bring empty homes back into use comes from Welsh Government and Cartrefi Conwy Housing Association, and other funding opportunities will continue to be explored.
Cllr Charlie McCoubrey, Conwy County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Regulatory Services, said: “Conwy is a fantastic place to live, and increasing population numbers and changes in the size of households are putting increasing pressure on our housing stock. Our geography, infrastructure and desire to maintain our precious green space make it exceedingly difficult to find land to build new, appropriate houses. It is absolutely right that we do everything in our power to maximise our existing, empty stock. I am confident that our proposed empty housing strategy, using a carrot and stick approach where necessary, will enable us to do this.”
By Shane Brennan – Local Democracy Reporter
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