May 22 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
A bungalow which was being used as a cannabis factory has been turned back into a family home, after it was seized by Broadland District Council.
The property, in Wroxham Road, Sprowston, had a chequered history for years before the council stepped in to compulsorily purchase it.
Problems came to a head when the empty property was broken into and became a regular target for vandals, fast becoming derelict and plaguing neighbours with late night noise.
After months of trying to negotiate with the owner, the council took the step of boarding up the bungalow to make it secure, and issued a prohibition order declaring it unsafe for human occupation.
When the owner still failed to carry out repairs, the final step was to compulsorily purchase it, and then sell it at auction to a buyer who has now restored it into a family home.
Jo Cottingham, Broadland District Council’s portfolio holder for communities and housing, said: “I hope this action illustrates the lengths we will go to to ensure empty houses are brought back into use as soon as possible.
“Not only did our action in this case achieve that, but it has helped neighbours who for many months had to put up with anti-social behaviour.
“With so many people looking for a decent home they can afford it’s important properties do not stand empty any longer than necessary.”
The council took the action under its Empty Homes programme, a strategy which sees the council contact owners six months after homes first become empty.
The council tries to establish why the property has remained empty, and encourages owners to bring them back into use, offering advice and financial assistance.
But if they remain empty for a year, owners are warned the council will consider enforcement action.
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