Thursday, 10 May 2012 12:32


SHADOW Housing Minister and North Wales Assembly Member, Mark Isherwood, has welcomed efforts by the Welsh Government to bring empty homes back into use - following the lead set by the UK Government.


Responding to the Statement by the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, Huw Lewis, on Empty Homes, Mr Isherwood commended the fact that 954 properties were brought back into use in 2010-11, but spoke of the need to maximise the number of households housed and turn as many empty houses into full homes as possible as part of the solution to tackling the housing supply crisis.



Speaking in the Chamber, he said: “This is an encouraging figure. However, some local authorities have taken a lead, while some have fallen behind. For example, Denbighshire alone produced 154 of those 954 properties. Therefore, how do you propose to ensure that, beyond the aspirations detailed here, good practice is shared not just at regional partnership meetings, but when people go back to deliver work programmes in their own county halls?

Mr Isherwood also referred to enforcement action on empty homes.

He said :”I am sure that you will agree with the Denbighshire empty homes officer, who said that every empty home has a story and that the key is to understand why it is empty and to work closely with the owner to bring it back into use. Will you, therefore, confirm your belief that enforcement action should be a last resort when the other options have failed?”

He added: “In relation to your comments about varying rates of council tax on second homes and empty properties, will you confirm that local authorities, if implementing such powers in the future, should be sensitive to individual circumstances. For instance, a bereaved person or a person with issues that, with support, could be addressed in order to allow properties to be accessed, should be exempted from such action; they should only be used when people are simply refusing to co-operate.”

Mr Isherwood also spoke of the work done in North Wales to set up a network of North Wales empty homes officers and asked how this has developed across Wales - and of the concerns highlighted by the North Wales Construction Group about procurement for local building companies when there is investment in the region.


Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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