Thursday, 16 October 2008

Empty Homes in Maidstone

Wrote to the leaders of the LibDems and Tories in Maidstone yesterday calling for action on empty homes. I discovered a couple of weeks back that there are 1610 empty homes in the borough (twice as high as 2006), the council has a target to bring 38 back into use each year, has not issued any Empty Dwellings Management Orders and there are over 2000 people waiting for social housing (three times more than 10 years ago).

Of course the building of new houses has also collapsed with the recession (I opposed the increased targets backed by the Tories and LibDems, but always accepted the original and more moderate levels as necessary). MBC needs to take urgent action...

Dear Councillors Garland and Wilson,

Despite the Empty Homes Strategy being agreed last year the number of empty homes has risen further with April 2008 double the 2006 figure. The number of households awaiting social housing has increased three fold over the last 10 years, yet the council does not seem to be exercising its powers to bring empty homes back into use - no Empty Homes Management Orders have been issued.

There are around 1600 empty homes with perhaps a third empty for more than 6 months. House building is grinding to a halt with the recession, so urgent action is needed to make the most of properties that are empty.

Please could you take action to reduce the social housing need and bring more empty homes back into use.

Stuart Jeffery
Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Maidstone and the Weald

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