Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Campaigns to target the owners of homes in Norfolk, Suffolk and the Fens lying empty have paid off, with new figures showing a drop.
Percentage change between October 2012 and October 2013:
Breckland: -12pc to 1,515
Broadland: +1pc to 1,223
Great Yarmouth: -2pc to 1,622
King’s Lynn and West Norfolk: -11pc to 2,372
North Norfolk: -6pc to 1,858
Norwich: -5pc to 1,614
South Norfolk: -7pc to 1,409
Waveney: -14pc to 1,838
Fenland: +1pc to 1,152
County percentage change since 2004:
Norfolk has seen a 7pc fall in the number of empty homes between 2012 and 2013 to 11,613, with the national figure plummeting to a 10-year low.
Breckland saw the biggest drop in Norfolk – down 12pc – after new laws which saw a hike in council tax were brought in last April and a project which gave owners advice about how to bring homes back into use and provide grants.
The Norfolk council said there were a number of reasons homes were left uninhabited, including lack of connections to basic services, struggles to let or maintain properties and delays in probate. Broadland was the only council which saw a slight increase in the number of empty homes, up one per cent between 2012 and 2013. Communities secretary Eric Pickles welcomed the news as “a significant achievement” hailing measures to bring back into use homes that have stood empty and unused for years, including the £235m empty homes funding programme, a reward for councils for bringing empty homes back into use and giving councils new powers to remove council tax subsidies to empty homes. Mr Pickles said: “Empty properties can blight entire neighbourhoods, becoming a magnet for anti-social behaviour when they should be family homes. Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see the numbers of empty homes in this country at their lowest for a decade.
“This is a significant achievement, which is not only delivering more homes but also creating more jobs and apprenticeships, leading to both a stronger economy and a fairer society as these properties are renovated.”
Do you think the government is doing enough to bring homes back into use? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk