Councillor vowing to get tough over empty homes across Lichfield and Burntwood

Owners of empty properties across Lichfield and Burntwood have been warned that action will be taken to bring homes back into use.

Lichfield District Council estimates that there are 985 vacant addresses across the region – with a third of these exempt from paying council tax.

Colin Greatorex

Cllr Colin Greatorex

But Cllr Colin Greatorex insisted the local authority would be prepared to take “enforcement action” if necessary to get people living in the remaining 669 empty homes.

In a report to an overview and scrutiny committee meeting this week, the Cabinet member for housing said: “The majority of these homes have been empty for under six months and are only expected to be empty for a brief period as they are in the process of being sold or re-let.

“To make the best use of limited resources, it is proposed the council take a risk based approach to tackling empty homes.

“Advice and assistance will always be offered to the owners first, which in the vast majority of cases will be sufficient.

“However, in more severe cases when owners are not cooperative, cannot be traced or are unwilling to enter into a voluntary dialogue with us, the council will consider the use of enforcement powers powers available.

“For the small number of empty homes found to be at high risk, the council may decide to take further enforcement action to bring the property back into use and occupation, such as compulsory purchase and enforced sale.”

The issue of vacated properties forms part of the council’s housing strategy.

And Cllr Greatorex insisted buildings standing empty for long periods of time was unacceptable.

“Homes that are left empty for longer periods can be a magnet for vandals, arsonists and other anti-social behaviour,” he said. This can cause deterioration to the property and the community in which it’s located.

“It is these longer term empty homes that are the main focus of our policy.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

5 Comments

  1. wendy hall

    18th January, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    there are 2 empty houses in my street. one has been empty 2yrs. also another 1 empty round the corner that has been empty even longer and they are all owned by bromford housing. find this disgusting when people are desperate for homes.

  2. Thornton

    19th January, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    I think that of someone owns a house then it should be up to them what they do with it. If they wish to leave it empty and allow it to deteriorate then so be it. It’s non of the councils business to get involved unless the issue becomes more widespread and 600 homes is not widespread.

  3. FiveSpiresLive

    20th January, 2016 at 8:55 am

    This is a follow up to the Syrian Refugee Resettlement options paper presented to LDC Cabinet

  4. Rob

    20th January, 2016 at 5:17 pm

  5. Rob

    26th January, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Mayor of provincial Bavarian town reeling from asylum flood speaking on Newsnight now. Looking aghast, he said “the local population are terrified”, so that just serves them right, doesn’t it? No sacrifice too great for the project………….