Speaking at the Goverment Property Conference this morning, Matt Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, announced that provisions were to be included in the Housing and Planning Bill that would required all local authorities to publish lists of their "surplus assets". This is to include all council homes empty for over 6 months and other buildings empty over 2 years.
What has Pay to Stay got to do with empty properties I hear you ask? Well from a southern perspective possibly very little, but the further you go north the more there is a relationship between the two.
A study of community-led housing by the Smith Institute, a left-leaning think-tank, has called for the government to re-instate the Empty Homes Community Grant Programme.
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Cherwell and South Northamptonshire Councils are advertising for a jointly-funded Empty Property Officer who will work 2.5 days in each local authority area. The authorities already share a Chief Executive. However, this is not yet a shared empty homes service, with the post-holder reporting separately to different managers in each authority.
The Housing and Planning Bill, currently before Parliament, has some 31 clauses dealing with compulsory purchase orders. This article is a brief summary of the changes proposed by the Bill insofar as they are relevant to empty homes CPOs.
The government's consultation on New Homes Bonus contains both good and bad news for empty homes practitioners. The good news is no news: there is no proposal to remove the reward for reducing the number of long term empty homes. The bad news is just about everything else in the consultation document, the main effect of which will be to reduce the level of reward and thus potentially reduce the commitment to empty homes initiatives.
The report prepared by Lancashire County Council's Internal Audit Team into the Rossendale/PLACE Empty Homes Project reveals an extraordinary number of flaws in basic processes of management and procurement associated with the HCA-funded scheme.
Following a letter we sent to Rt Hon. Greg Clark, MP, Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, the Empty Homes Network has now received a response from Brandon Lewis, MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning.
New research from David Mullins and Halima Sacranie at the School of Social Policy, Birmingham University, spells out in detail the achievements of community housing organisations funded through the government's Community Grants Programme for empty homes.