In Cornwall there is alleged some 4000 homes that have been unoccupied for over 6 months. That in anyones book is a lot of homes that could be brought back into use. Cornwall Council recognises that this problem should be addressed. The trick is how?
In simple terms, and I believe a valid argument is why build more homes when there are many unused. Cornwall Council as the Local Authority has some pretty far reaching powers to address this. The end of the scale is Compulsory Purchasing. It does not like to use this lightly, but there is a feeling that these powers should be exercised to solve this problem. In a recent survey that Cornwall Council undertook to help build a database on empty properties and to make sure that the data held on them was correct.
This survey threw up some interesting figures which I will list below.
- 13,398 Second Homes (Chargeable dwellings which are unoccupied and furnished)
- 311 purpose built holiday homes that have some sort of restriction prevents year round occupancy
- 3597 empty properties that have been empty for at least six months.
Now the first two bullet points are harder to address without a change in the law. Something that has not been fully addressed in the lofty towers of Westminster (and will it ever be??). The last bullet point is easier to address and is now being pursued by Cornwall Council.
How? Well, Cornwall Council has made available a pot of money of around £1.5 million. This of course could not buy up all these properties because the average price of a 3 bed property is around the £180k-£200k mark. The way they are going to tackle it is to encourage those owners to bring them back into use for the population. This could be done by loans to bring the building back to a habitual standard, advice on renting it out or others means of helping those owners. If that fails, then I do feel that Cornwall Council will flex its might and head to the courts.
Now if anyone does know of empty properties in their areas, then contact Cornwall Council, or their local Cornwall Councillor. Failing that, drop me a e-mail and I will make sure the property is investigated.