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Empty homes in Preston ‘could take 20 years to tackle’

The issue of empty homes in Preston is one that residents of the city would like to see addressed as swiftly as possible, but this is something that is not currently a priority for the local authority.

Independent councillor Terry Cartwright told the Lancashire Evening Post that up to 1,200 unused properties currently exist across the city, but they are being brought back into full-time use at a rate of just one per week at present.

As a result, he noted it will take the council at least 20 years to address the problem and that is only if the number of unoccupied homes does not rise.

“Enough is enough. There are people crying out for somewhere to live and yet there are all these houses standing empty. This just isn’t good enough,” Mr Cartwright argued.

With estimates revealing approximately 3,000 people are currently sitting on the local authority’s housing list, the councillor wishes more to be done to bring as many empty properties back into use as quickly as possible.

His comments follow the launch earlier this year of a new council initiative to offer grants to property owners to renovate their homes to bring them up to the required standard for family use.

However, with just ¬£50,000 a year in funding set aside for the scheme, Mr Cartwright wishes to this see this figure significantly increased or he warned it will “barely scratch the surface” of the issue of uninhabitable properties across the city.

Ideally, he added the council should be able to address this concern in just a few years and not the two decades it is likely to take at present.

Unoccupied homes can be more prone to issues like break-ins or damage if left vacant for prolonged periods and that is why individuals keen to safeguard their financial investment in an empty property should consider taking out comprehensive unoccupied property insurance from GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Limited.

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