Bid to cut housing shortage

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HIGH Peak Borough Council has joined forces with a Macclesfield-based housing trust on a £3 million partnership to slash the number of long-term empty houses in Buxton.

The council have appointed Peaks and Plains Housing Trust to work on a Buxton Housing Market Intervention Project that will bring vacant homes back into use to be offered as affordable rented accommodation, shared ownership and low-cost sale.

Anthony McKeown, executive councillor for community services, said: “This project is vitally important as it will bring many empty houses back into use, giving people somewhere decent to live at affordable prices and easing pressure on social housing.”

The authority say there are currently 174 Buxton properties that have been unoccupied for six months or more.

The scheme will be part-funded by a Section 106 contribution of £922,447 from the firm behind the Otterhole development in Buxton. Peaks and Plains will be providing the remaining funds, which could be up to £2m.

Peaks and Plains has also bid for a share of the Homes and Communities Agency’s £100m national programme to provide affordable housing in partnership with the council, in an effort to extend the scheme across the rest of the High Peak.

The Buxton project will involve the housing trust identifying suitable properties from private sector sources, and then weighing up their potential by taking account of purchase and refurbishment costs.

The properties will then be improved to the decent homes standard and marketed through the council’s choice-based lettings system.

Priority will be given to houses that have been empty for more than six months.