Twenty-two properties in Preston have already been refurbished and returned to family homes as part of the Making Homes from Houses project having been empty for a total of 78 years.Advertisement
Thanks to funding commitments from Preston City Council, Homes England and partners, Community Gateway Association in Phases 1 and 2, another number of empty dwellings have been purchased or are in the process of legal completion, in readiness to receive the same attention.
So far, £670,000 has been invested by the Council, using S106 developer contributions, with a total of £3.9m being spent to deliver the 22 affordable rented homes.
Council committed funds are now at £1.6m, which is expected to result in a total of £9.3m of investment and an estimated 52 new affordable rented homes altogether. Once refurbished, these properties are made available to people in housing need – either homeless or those on the housing waiting list and eligible for such properties.
There are many reasons properties are left empty – from the owner passing away or moving into care facilities, to landlords struggling to pay for repairs and keeping up with current housing standards for tenants. These empty houses do not need to go to waste as they can be transformed into homes through this vital project.
Councillor David Borrow, Cabinet member for planning and regulation, said: “I’m delighted this priority project is continuing, following its success in the last few years.
“The Council is pleased to be continuing this work with Community Gateway Association as the successful organisation in the tender process, and building on the fantastic partnership working we’ve had over the previous three years.
“Empty properties can have a negative impact on communities. By bringing empty homes back into use, an area’s appearance can be greatly improved and boost people’s confidence in their neighbourhood.
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“There is currently a shortage of satisfactory affordable housing across the country, not just Preston. Your empty property could be a new home for a person in housing need, a young family looking for their first home or an older person looking to downsize.
“Re-using your empty home can also save you money. Keeping your property empty can cost you nearly £8,000 a year. If there’s an empty property near you, get in touch with the council to see what can be done.”
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Rob Wakefield, Community Gateway Association Chief Executive, added: “We are delighted to have once again been awarded the contract to renovate empty homes as part of the Making Homes from Houses Project, supported by Homes England.
“By refurbishing vacant properties across Preston, we can generate more and much-needed affordable homes for those in housing need. At the same time, by bringing these eyesore homes up to scratch, we improve the appearance of our neighbourhoods and help combat anti-social behaviour.
“We look forward to building on our excellent working relationship with Preston City Council to successfully deliver this project.”
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