Help to get empty homes back into use
Conwy council has approved plans to bring more houses back into use in the county.
Members of the council’s cabinet meeting today agreed to a revised housing strategy that will see the plans put out to a public consultation.
As part of the new approach the council will target areas where there is a high concentration of empty homes in lower council ax bands with a view to increasing the supply of affordable housing.
Councillors heard that at any given time about 1,600 homes or 2.8% of the county’s housing stock is empty.
Cllr Charlie McCoubrey, the cabinet member for housing, said: “We’re all aware housing is in very short supply, it’s a very precious resource. It’s something our residents are very aware of, especially when we’re using green field sites.
“It’s really important that we use the existing resources that are there. Empty houses can be a real social plight, they can drag a neighbourhood down. This essentially is an update. We have an empty housing strategy board, we looked at it and looked at where it needed to be changed. We have moved the emphasis towards targeting affordable housing.”
As well as having financial incentives including loans of up to £25,000 for repairs the council said it would help empty property owners find other solutions to bring houses back into use.
Clr McCoubrey added: “We have also seen that it might not always be an affordability issue, it might be that someone feels they don’t have the skills or know the builders to come in and do the work so we’re going to look at our register of social landlords where they would do the work and rent it out for a period and the rent would be in lieu of the work done.”
Llanrwst county councillor, Aaron Wynne, also welcomed moves to address the problem of empty homes.
He said: “I support positive action in bringing long-term properties into the affordable housing market.
“There’s an eye-watering number of long-term empty properties in the county of Conwy.
“There’s currently a housing crisis. We need a new, bold and ambitious plan to make homes accessible to the people of Conwy.”
By Shane Brennan – Local Democracy Reporter
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