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Isle of Wight Council to target empty properties

Isle of Wight Council is to help bring empty homes back into use in order to increase the supply of affordable homes for islanders.

The local authority has launched a three-year strategy, which will focus on those homes that have stood empty for more than two years.

According to the council, there are 522 empty homes across the Isle of Wight — including 154 that have been empty for over two years.

While the council plans to work with owners to bring properties back into use — particularly those that are blighting a neighbourhood or causing antisocial behaviour — the authority has warned it will consider using enforcement action if they remain empty.

An empty property is defined as a property which is unlikely to be occupied or capable of occupation and has been vacant for at least six months.

It excludes second homes, properties under probate or where the owner is in residential care.

Homes owned by armed forces personnel, or where the owner is actively marketing or renovating the property, are also not included by virtue of the list of specific statutory exemptions.

A typical empty property can cost more than £8,000 a year to the owner in lost value and maintenance costs and can devalue surrounding homes by up to 18 per cent.

‘High levels of empty properties are recognised as having a serious impact on the viability of communities,’ said cabinet member for planning and housing, Cllr Barry Abraham.

‘Knock-on effects can increase decline and give the appearance of deprivation which can affect the health of those living in the community.

‘Empty properties can also have a negative impact on our tourism trade.”

Cllr Abraham added: ‘Achieving the aims and objectives of this strategy will require a creative, focussed and committed partnership approach.

‘While the economic situation and resource implications are challenging, I do believe this is a realistic and achievable strategy.’

Photo Credit – obsidianphotography (Pixabay)

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