The Inside Edge
They stand empty side by side, their windows boarded or shuttered up. Nobody goes in and nobody gives them a second glance. They turn a once vibrant and happy street into a desolate and intimidating no man’s land.
Empty properties are becoming more and more prevalent across the UK causing the degeneration of entire communities, crime levels to rise, and low morale in those who live amongst them.
The “ghost streets” of Britain are the result of many failed regeneration schemes over the years, but now more than £71 million will be spent by the Government to tackle these empty properties across the Midlands and North of England.
This announcement comes following the Government saying it would be investing a further £50 million into restoring empty homes so they were habitable. This would be on top of the £100 million already earmarked for this purpose.
There are currently three-quarters of a million empty homes in England many of which have been totally abandoned by previous occupants and local authorities. Empty properties can bring an entire street into dire straits. Petty crime is often rife in such areas and the entire street image can be brought down by just one property.
In response to the housing strategy, Empty Homes chief executive David Ireland says: “This funding is very welcome, but on its own it won’t be enough.
“To get homes back into use where they are in poor condition and the market is weak, empty properties need to be sold at affordable prices to people prepared to refurbish them. Councils need to help by disposing of their own abandoned housing at discounted prices.”
Those looking to sell a property in one of these areas may have a hard time. Just one property can give a street a bad name whether you live next door to or a few doors away from a dilapidated property. Regeneration schemes have been proposed so many times over recent years so we’ll be interested to see how successful the new Government proposals will be. Watch this space.