195 homes sit empty and unused in Aylesbury, research has revealed

195 homes sit empty and unused in Aylesbury, research has revealed
195 homes sit empty and unused in Aylesbury, research has revealed

21 homes have been empty for more than a decade across Aylesbury, council bosses have admitted in a Freedom of information request.

These include 69 homes which have been unoccupied for more than two years, and 21 which have been unoccupied for more than five years.

The figures were uncovered by a Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrat party.

Nationally the figures show that 216,000 homes have been empty for six months or more, including 60,000 which have been empty for two years or more, and over 11,000 have stood empty for at least ten years.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: “At a time when the homelessness crisis is worsening and more and more people are sleeping out in the cold on our streets, it is a national scandal that thousands of homes across the country are sitting empty.

“The government needs to urgently review the current system which is clearly not working.

“Councils need to be given the powers and resources to bring empty homes back into use.”

Lindsey Vallis, Group Manager - Specialist Services at Aylesbury Vale District council said: "The reported statistics show that the number of empty properties across the whole of Aylesbury Vale is low compared to the national picture. The total figure of 195 includes new build properties that have yet to be sold and many houses that are only temporarily empty, for example those being bought, sold and refurbished.

"Our main focus is on those properties that have been unoccupied for long periods of time. Through working with the owners of empty properties we have reduced the number ofempty properties in Aylesbury Vale by 66% since December 2011.

"The list of empty properties has recently been reviewed and we are now working on a shortlist of priority properties that have been selected taking into account how long they have been unoccupied, any adverse impact they may be having on other nearby residents and whether they are located in an area where there is a high demand for housing.

"We have a range of measures to assist bringing houses back into use including empty property loans, which eligible owners can use to fund repair and renovation work so that a house can be brought back into a fit state for habitation. In extreme cases, for example when owners of long term empty homes cannot be traced, we have enforcement powers enabling us to repair and rent or sell properties on.

"AVDC provides temporary accommodation for those that are homeless and to whom we have a statutory duty. Meeting future temporary accommodation demands is a challenge for all local authorities in the current housing climate but one that we are taking steps to address. Utilising empty homes is just one of many options that we are actively exploring at this time, however empty homes are not always suitable to be brought back in to use to meet housing demand. AVDC is one of the top performing local authorities delivering affordable new homes for local people.

"If you have concerns about an empty property near you or are the owner of an empty property and would like to find out more about how we can assist you in bringing the house back into use then please contact our Housing team at envhealth@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk"

More on AVDC's housing policy here:

http:// https://www.bucksherald.co.uk/news/affordable-housing-a-top-priority-says-aylesbury-council-1-7701514