New strategy to bring High Peak's empty homes back into use

The council says it wants to bring more empty homes back into use.
The council says it wants to bring more empty homes back into use.

Plans have been revealed to bring empty homes across the High Peak back into use to help tackle the area’s housing crisis.

Across the High Peak there are 1,053 empty homes and 304 vacant non-domestic properties. High Peak Borough Council said it wants to address this issue so that the buildings can once again be occupied.

The Empty Property Strategy has been drawn up in a bid to create more living accommodation for residents across the area.

Councillor Julie McCabe, executive councillor for housing and communities, said: “Leaving properties empty is not just a waste of a building, it can also have negative impacts on communities such as attracting vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

“Properties can become unoccupied for several, sometimes complex, reasons so tackling this issue isn’t always straightforward but it is one of the key ways the council can help to meet the need for good quality housing in the High Peak.

“We want to work with, and support, owners and landlords to help them return buildings to positive use, and thereby address the various issues resulting from empty properties. I’m pleased, therefore, that by agreeing the Empty Property Strategy, the council is showing its commitment to actively addressing these issues.”

The council said empty properties ‘blight communities’ and, with the provision of housing high on the national agenda, bringing them back into use is an obvious way to help meet local needs.

The new strategy also seeks to: raise awareness of the issues caused by leaving properties empty; minimise the number of properties that become empty for long periods; provide sustainable development by reducing the need to build new properties; and improve housing conditions and prevent the deterioration of existing buildings.

Coun McCabe added: “Leaving properties empty benefits no-one and it is not a no-cost option as council tax and business rates are often still payable on unoccupied premises. Having plans in place to work is a good step forward.

“We will still need to build new homes in the High Peak to meet demand but it makes no sense to ignore existing properties which could be returned to use and reduce the need for us to consider developing greenfield sites.”