The thinking behind the approach we’re developing through Leeds Empties is that complex social problems – such as bringing back into use long-term empty homes – require a range of creative solutions. You’ll all know that as empty homes practitioners. To make real progress, we need a range of different interventions, each helping to make progress on a particular aspect of the problem at hand.
The "Forgotten Spaces 2013" competition is being launched this week, inviting submissions for spaces in London and Preston. Planning magaizne reports that
The Forgotten Spaces competition, run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) along with the Mayor of London, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Landscape Institute, is open to students, artists, design professionals, planners, members of the public and local groups (led by a professional) living in the UK.
Graham Jones, Labour MP for Haslingden and Hyndburn and David Ireland of the Empty Homes Agency have engaged in an interesting debate about demolitions in Jones's blog. Jones makes a robust defence of the need for demolitions in his constituency while Ireland quotes statistics about the size of local housing waiting lists in defence of the need to retain empty homes and bring them back into occupation.
The London Rebuilding Society has launched a new scheme to help bring empty homes in London back into use, drawing on their experience with Home Improvement projects.
Few details of the scheme are available on their website but contact details are provided and the site states:
On the day that the government's statutory instrument to make it harder for local authorities to obtain Empty Dwelling Management Orders came into force, it was reported that South Tyneside Council had secured 11 EDMOs at a single hearing of the Residential Property Tribunal. The homes will be refurbished with finance in part from the government's £100million empty homes fund.
BBC breakfast time on the 14th November featured a Fresh Horizons scheme in Huddersfield, funded out of the government's £100million empty homes pot. The scheme aims to bring 65 homes back into use.
The video is accessible from here.
You can find out more about Fresh Horizons (a Huddersfield-based social enterprise) here.
St Helens Council in conjunction with Merseyside police are among the first to implement this new Legislation.
Just two days after the legislation was introduced, Neighbourhood Police Officers from St Helens, working with the council's Private Sector Landlord and Tenant Liaison Officer, successfully removed a man who had been involved in anti-social behaviour while squatting at a privately rented address in the area.
The Stoke-on-Trent proposal to sell surplus houses to low-paid working people for £1 has now been given the go-ahead by the Council's Cabinet. The proposed scheme has been widely reported as an example of innovative thinking around empty homes.
The homes were originally purchased under the previous government's Market Renewal programme but the council was unable to progress the redevelopment schemes when the incoming Coalition government cut the funding. The cost of purchasing the homes to be sold for £1 has not been made public to date.
Charity Hope Into Action has interviewd Peterborough City Council's Empty Homes Officer Adam Cliff about his work and you can see the video on their website here.
Hope Into Action are based in the Cambridge/Peterborough area and specialise in housing and support for ex-offenders and other vulnerable peole. Their website states they have recently won grant to enable two empty homes to be brought back into use.
It's sometimes interesting to see what goes on in other parts of the world around empty homes.
The story reported in the Minneapolis StarTribune shows that the UK's forthcoming empty homes premium is not draconian by some standards.....And some US politicians seem to be more outspoken than ours on the issue.