Letters to be sent to owners of empty Norwich homes

City Hall in Norwich. Photo: Nick Butcher.

City Hall in Norwich. Photo: Nick Butcher. - Credit: EDP pics © 2007

The owners of more than 100 empty homes in Norwich are to be sent letters urging them to get the houses back into use.

There are some 500 unoccupied homes in Norwich and city council bosses hope a partnership will get some of them into use.

So far three properties have been signed up to the scheme, but the council is writing to the owners of 110 more empty homes asking them to get on board.

The project is being run in partnership with Norwich City Council, St Martin's Housing Trust, LEAP, Building Futures in Norwich and CTS Ltd.

The scheme will see all necessary work to get the home back in use done in return for the property being let to city charity St Martin's Housing Trust.

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A city council spokeswoman said: 'We identify suitable empty homes and persuade their owners to let them to St Martin's. 'Then St. Martin's brings them up to a lettable standard using construction trainees who are Norwich LEAP clients.

'This provides a great opportunity for local people to gain hands-on experience, which can lead to employment for those who aren't in work.

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'When complete, St Martin's will let the properties. The cost of the works and a management charge is recovered from the rent making the funds 'recyclable'.'

She added: 'The past few months have involved setting up this project and identifying suitable houses, and it's on target with the first three properties signed up.

'This progress means council officers who have been working on the project can now spend more time carrying out the council's existing work to bring empty homes back into use which, in the first instance, involves us offering advice and assistance to homeowners.'

Three times in the past two years, the city council has used compulsory purchase orders to seize long-term empty homes from owners. Those are sold at auction and returned to use as homes.

• Are you looking for a new home? Make sure you get the Norwich Evening News on Thursdays for our Homes24 section and visit the website at www.homes24.co.uk

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