These before and after pictures show how a once derelict house near Norwich was transformed back into a home after it was seized by council bosses.

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The property, in Wroxham Road in Sprowston, was highlighted by Broadland District Council to mark Empty Homes Week, which started today.

Council bosses say it is a prime example of their “carrot and stick” approach to tackling the problem of empty accommodation – first offering advice, encouragement and financial help, but prepared to use enforcement powers if all else fails.

The council’s policy is to contact the owners of empty properties after they have been out of use for six months, when previously it was a year.

Broadland can offer loans of up to £10,000 to help owners restore homes to occupation, as well as paving the way for 15pc VAT reductions on building work under certain circumstances.

But, in the case of the Wroxham Road property, all efforts to negotiate with the owner failed, forcing the council to use compulsory purchase powers as a last resort to prevent it falling into even more disrepair.

The house was then sold at auction to developers who have renovated it and brought it back into use as a family home.

Jo Cottingham, portfolio holder for communities and housing at Broadland District Council, said: “Early intervention means in most cases we can work with the owner to find out why the property is unoccupied and look for solutions.

“With so many people looking for a decent home they can afford, it’s essential that houses do not stand empty any longer than necessary.

“In a market where house sales are proving tricky and even new-build properties can stand empty for long periods, these figures should be seen as a considerable success for the council’s strategy.”

New figures released to mark the start of Empty Homes Week show there has been a year-on-year five per cent reduction in the number of unoccupied houses in the Broadland district, down to an all-time low of 402.

22 comments

  • Well pointed out g hu. Isn't it amazing how often people go off on one on here without having a clue what they're talking about!!!

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    Lord Horn

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • is that really the same house???? still i suppose it would look different after being bought for next to nothing then sold at a good profit then completely rebuilt and rented out at a massive rent to somebody who can just about manage the rent !!!!!

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Meanwhile, Broadland continue to promote second home ownership. These properties then stand empty most of the time. Could we have some joined up thinking at Broadland or maybe just some thinking would be a start.

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    Homes4locals

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • There is a lot of criticism here of this scheme. I wonder how many of those critics would be saying these things if the derelict property was next door to them. Having a crumbling derelict house next door can knock £50,000 off the value of your house, or even render it unsaleable. I did know of someone in that position. They could not sell their little palace of a bungalow because of the dilapidated wreck next door, with overgrown garden and old cars rusting in the drive. You would soon change your tune if that happened to you.

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    Derek Colman

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • What a ludicrous statement from Grant Hardy. Compulsory Purchase powers have been around for decades. Broadland District Council (like most of our other local Councils) only use these in extreme circumstances. I'm sure that if he could be bothered to put in an FOI request to any local council Mr Hardy would find that the number of times these powers have been used are minimal in the extreme.

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    Lord Horn

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • and..... ss for Mr Hardy's comments about 'ever increasing Council Tax bills' if he is a resident of Broadland I think he will find that these have been frozen and are likely to remain so.

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    Lord Horn

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • Is that the same Jo Cottingham of Arab Emirates fame?

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    John L Norton

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Which councillors have the vested interests, not only in buying the property but also in the development company ? Lrgalised theft by councillors

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    "V"

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Will this be appearing on 'Homes under the Hammer' anytime soon by any chance?

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    JanieH

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • Well glad to hear no one is making money out of the policy-just making political capital at the possible expense of individuals.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • So if someone has an asset but not the money to bring it to some form of order, and could be waiting for it to sell on the open market for a decent price, Broadland can come along and force an auction disposal which is likely to give a much lower return? Since I know people with perfectly decent houses on the market for six months still struggling to get viewings let alone buyers the time scale is pretty short and if there are empty new builds there is not exactly a housing crisis is there. What if the house is in a position to give access to a potential develoment area ? It is a rule open to all sorts of behind closed doors dealing. All this while holiday homes in good repair stand empty for most of the year. I do hope we don't see a scandal of people close to the council department buying up houses subject to these orders for a song. It is a power too far and is a bit of grandstanding .

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • links not working, you maybe correct, the pub was called The Three Horseshoes at HovetonWroxham, you can serch old pics on google images

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    lisa

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Congrats Del on missing the point entirely!

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    Homes4locals

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • you maybe correct on that, the pub was called the three horseshoes in wroxham, here a pic from the link http:www.google.co.ukimgres?q=the+three+horseshoes+wroxham&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&tbo=d&rlz=1G1TEUA_EN-GBUK513&biw=1249&bih=565&tbm=isch&tbnid=l4KhNpsSs9wfeM:&imgrefurl=http:www.broadlandmemories.co.ukpage246.html&docid=PGw4c3OYNJ1CGM&imgurl=http:www.broadlandmemories.co.ukimagespostcardswroxham60s_horseshoes01.jpg&w=600&h=379&ei=dlu1ULzSC5HL0AX6s4DwBg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=2&vpy=158&dur=734&hovh=178&hovw=283&tx=180&ty=65&sig=115420655857097108501&page=1&tbnh=140&tbnw=213&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0,i:85

    Report this comment

    lisa

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Broadland District Council can confirm that no elected member of Broadland District Council has any financial interest or derived any financial benefit from the development of this site.

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    Broadland District Council

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • And congrats to Homes4locals who has absolutely no clue as to how Local Government works in this country!

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    Lord Horn

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • lisa - anything on the north bank is in Hoveton, and therefore in North Norfolk, not in Broadland.

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    g hu

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • It would be better if it had been renovated and let at an affordable rent to someone on the waiting list.

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    tigger449

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • I think we need to look at the bigger picture. A local council has the power to TAKE your assets against your will and sell it for whatever price they feel. This is private property we are talking about. This is the beginning of a slippery slope and has a hint of communism about it. Councils are altogether too powerful and we as individuals have less rights than ever before. There is another element to this also - the councils in general have many empty properties; should they all be put in to an auction right away and sold off to the highest bidder? Many of these properties have been empty for some time. When the councils sell there properties, they add in many restrictive covenants and may include clauses to ensure they continue to benefit from future potential gains from that asset, should the new owner sell it at a later date? It seems that the council do what suits them and all this whilst they enjoy their final salary pensions’ which is in part funded from your ever increasing council tax bills! I wonder if a council employee lived anywhere near this house?

    Report this comment

    Grant Hardy

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Let's see some figures like how much it cost etc, or probably more to the point how much it cost the already overburdened Broadland District Council taxpayer.

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    Old Long Balls

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Im amazed what im reading here, the council must be joking with this story, I have put up with empty derlic scruffy rat ridden buildings in wroxhamhoverton next door to the kings head for years and years, what people do not relise is that next door to the very dirty kings head in wroxham once lay the most beautiful second pub, the king heads owners purchased it and have left it disused ever since, i guess becuase they do not want any competition, so us locals have to put up with looking at a wreck every day, and the council have not done anything for 10 years plus, so whats all the 6 month rubbish, why have you sorted the sprowston house and not the old pub in wroxham, i myself would be happy to buy it at a forced auction, the council shouls be ashamed of themselves, my question is WHY has the building next to the king head been ignored from your rulings. I would like you to answer, like you did the other comment. But you will choose to go and hide under a stone instead.

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    lisa

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • @lisa - the King's Head is in Hoveton, in North Norfolk, not in Broadland - a different council. Maybe they do things differently there?

    Report this comment

    g hu

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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