Friday, 3 November 2017

EMPTY HOMES IN WREXHAM DOUBLE IN FIVE YEARS


The number of long-term homes in Wrexham has doubled in the past five years, according to a new council report.

In 2016-17 there were 419 houses that had been empty for more than six months compared with 206 in 2012/3.

A small number - currently 38 - are council properties but these include 22 due for demolition in Plas Madoc. The report proposes to ensure that no council house is empty for more than six months.

The report goes to Wrexham Council's Housing and Environment Scrutiny Committee next week.

Cllr Carrie Harper, who represents Queensway ward for Plaid Cymru, said: 
"I'm encouraged that the number of council properties lying empty is being tackled but that goes hand in hand with a dramatic increase in the number of private houses not being occupied. Some of the worst examples of housing are those that have been bought from the council but are now in a state of disrepair - we need to be able to act to bring housing in the community up to a standard.

 "That will mean accessing funds as loans to householders or even buying those houses. We need to do something different to tackle the waiting list for council accommodation and the growing pressure in the private-rented sector.

 "Plaid Cymru wants to see new council houses being built to help meet demand but getting these empty homes back into use is also important.

 "These hundreds of long-term empty properties also bring into question the numbers of extra houses that Wrexham Council is expected to allow on greenfield sites under the new Local Development Plan. It makes no sense for the Welsh Government to insist on creating huge new commuter estates when it's not providing support to get these houses in our communities back into use." 

Cllr Marc Jones, of Grosvenor ward, added: 

"My ward has a number of long-term empty properties that blight the Rhosddu area. Good work has been done to bring some back into use but we need to speed up that process and make it clear to poor landlords that they can't let houses just sit there for years on end, often becoming derelict and a nuisance to neighbours. Many of these are perfectly good homes that end up blighting a neighbourhood and the council's leadership shouldn't treat this as a Cinderella service."

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