The number of empty homes in Corby has been cut from more than 300 to less than 50.
Corby Council has marked Empty Homes Week by reflecting on what more can be done to bring empty properties back into use to help meet housing needs and to address the concerns of residents about neighbourhood blight.
The council has reduced the number of long-term empty properties in its area from 324 in 2012 to just 43 as it stands currently.
This has largely been through effective negotiating and persuasive skills with empty homes owners to either encourage them to sell their properties or let them out in the private rented sector.
Focus is now turning to long-term empty homes that may require enforcement action and even in some cases a compulsory purchase order.
The council is now working closely to deliver more affordable homes from empty commercial spaces in the town centre.
Although there are undoubtedly a number of challenges in successfully creating new housing through this route, there are also significant opportunities - not just in terms of affordable housing, but in terms of wider community benefits.
Corby Council’s lead member for housing, Cllr Bob Eyles, said: “Bringing empty properties back to life is one of our priorities here at Corby Council so going on now to develop the empty spaces in our town centre to provide much-needed housing is a very exciting initiative.
“This will add vibrancy and provide much needed accommodation right in the centre of the borough.”
Empty Homes is a national campaigning charity and works in England to:
Raise awareness of the waste of long-term empty homes.
Research, develop and work with others to test ideas for bringing long-term empty homes back into use for those in housing need.
Provide encouragement and advice for those seeking to bring empty homes back into use or who are concerned about empty homes.
Campaign for changes to policy and initiatives at national and local levels that will enable more action to bring empty homes back into use for those in housing need.
For more information please visit www.emptyhomes.com.