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Dispute over rise in town’s empty homes

There are 1,025 properties in the borough classed as long-term vacant

There are 1,025 properties in the borough classed as long-term vacant

Council chiefs have welcomed figures which show the number of empty homes in St Helens is among the lowest the region.

Town hall statistics show there are 1,025 properties in the borough classed as long-term vacant (LTVs).

However, figures from charity the Empty Homes Agency show that the number of LTVs - homes that have been empty for six months or more - has increased by 20 per cent, from 953 to 1,146.

But St Helens Council told the Reporter that the number has in fact increased to 1,025, according to their figures, and plans are in place to reduce that figure.

A town hall spokesman said: “The council is aware of a small increase in LTVs which is perhaps not surprising given the effects of the current housing market and the local economy on the level of vacant properties.

“We have an Empty Homes Strategy which deals with both proactive and reactive interventions, including enforcement and successful compulsory purchase where necessary.

“During 2013/14 the council successfully brought 60 previously vacant homes back into occupation as a direct result of interventions through its Empty Homes Service.

The number of St Helens LTVs - according to the Department for Communities and Local Government - is 1.28 per cent of the total properties, among the lowest rates in the region.

The council has no responsibility to bring LTVs back into use but, through the approach set out in its strategy, it wants to help more owners. The empty homes data is compiled using council tax 
data.

 

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