More empty homes in Waveney than any other Suffolk district, figures reveal
PUBLISHED: 16:01 04 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:25 05 January 2020
More homes sit empty in Waveney than in any other Suffolk district, figures reveal.
According to the latest Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government statistics, there were 8,430 vacant homes across Suffolk in October 2018, up from 7,695 the year before - an increase of 9.5pc.
Waveney had the most vacant homes in the county at 1,579, up from 1,458 - a rise of 8.2pc, while Suffolk Coastal saw an increase of 15pc - from 1,459 to 1,678.
However, councillor Richard Kerry, East Suffolk cabinet member for housing, said the figures were "somewhat misleading." He said: "First, the numbers are historic, with records only up to October 2018, and a great number of 'empty' properties are often under renovation, for sale or recently re-occupied without the council being notified of the change.
"However there are a number of properties which do not fall into these categories and which have been empty for a long period of time - these are properties which have generally been empty for two years or more. These properties can be more problematic as they require significant investment in both time and resources to bring them back into use.
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"However we have managed to reduce the number of long term empty properties by working with housing associations to arrange private sector leasing arrangements with property owners; organising renovation grants and linking rent to the Local Housing Allowance and securing the affordability of the housing being returned to use."
Mr Kerry also highlighted a number of recently sold council properties which had proved difficult to let.
He said: "The council is committed to tackling this issue and is taking an interventionist approach to long term empty properties. We have purchased a number ourselves and brought them back in to use through a renovation programme.
"Empty homes are a wasted resource. They are a waste to an owner who could receive a rental income from a let property or a capital sum if it were to be sold, to families needing a home and to communities who could benefit from the support an additional family would provide to local businesses, schools, clubs etc.
"Increasing housing provision for people in housing need and reducing the number of long-term empty homes are both key ambitions for the council.
"By developing new sites and refurbishing older empty properties, we are working to increase the amount of homes available."