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How Preston’s empty problem properties are being tackled

Posted on - 20th August, 2014 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Fishwick, Housing, News, Preston Council, St Matthews
The former Windsor Castle pub was empty for years, but has now been turned into affordable flats

The former Windsor Castle pub was empty for years, but has now been turned into affordable flats Pic: Tony Worrall

The latest action plan to tackle empty homes in Preston has been unveiled.

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Figures show how since 2011 there have been 337 homes brought back into use in the city.

Preston City Council says this has generated £853,767 for the city as it battles to tackle homes left empty for six months or more.

There are 1,156 long term empty properties in Preston which makes up 1.88% of the total homes in the city.

In the last year the city council helped return 111 properties to use, beating its target of 75.

Long term empty homes are seen as indicators of socio-economic problems in areas which have high percentages of empty homes.

They can also be a target for vandalism, squatters and anti-social behaviour.

The council points to schemes like the action taken with the former Windsor Castle pub on Egan Street.

Having stood empty for a number of years the city council along with Methodist Action worked to restore it.

It is now 10 affordable homes of one or two bed flats which have been leased to Methodist Action for 10 years.

Inner East Preston, particularly Fishwick and St Matthews, are the main problem areas for empty homes – with nearly 3 per cent of all homes in both these wards standing empty for more than six months.

Deputy leader of the city council, John Swindells, writes in his report: “Now more than ever Preston is experiencing a transformation which will become more evident when the effects of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal are felt, and with the forthcoming Friends of Fishwick and St Matthews Neighbourhood Plan, it is an exciting time of change and Preston City Council is committed to making the best use of its existing housing stock to maximise the opportunity presented.

“Reducing the number of empty homes helps improve local commuinities by providing additional housing for those in need.

“Removing eyesore properties and providing socio-economic and environmental benefits for the community as a whole.”

You can read the full report on the council website.

Do you live near a long term empty property? What do you think of the issue? Let us know in the comments below

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