Headlines: March 1st, 2012

Councils can bid for new funding aimed at breathing new life into the country’s abandoned streets by bringing back into use clusters of empty homes.

Neighbourhoods can be blighted by empty homes which can often attract anti-social behaviour, vandalism and fly-tipping. It is estimated that there are some 700,000 empty homes across the country.

Since the introduction of the New Homes Bonus in October 2009 the number of long term empty homes has been reduced by nearly 38,000, with rewards to local authorities of £64 million as a result.

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell has offered £50 million funding to areas with clusters of empty homes which have good market prospects, such as access to transport links, but require intensive refurbishment to return them to a liveable standard. Councils who wish to apply will match the funding they receive – bringing the total investment to £100 million. Every successful bid must have strong local support and aim to bring at least 100 homes back into use.

Andrew Stunell said: “It’s shocking that hundreds of thousands of houses sit unoccupied while people across the country are in need of a home of their own. Thousands of homes have already been brought back into use in the last year – but there are still many areas where there are whole streets of abandoned homes.”