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Chris Skinner receives posthumous award

EHN members will be pleased to hear that Chris Skinner has been honoured by our local Law Society. There was a spontaneous standing ovation at the awards ceremony whilst Chris’ children went up on stage to receive the award on his behalf.

The press announcement is reproduced below:

Local government lawyer Chris Skinner has been posthumously awarded for his outstanding contribution to the legal profession in Norfolk by the Norwich and Norfolk Law Society.

Chris, who passed away suddenly in February 2017, lived and worked in Norfolk for most of his career.

His children, Tom and Jess, received the award on his behalf from the President of the Norfolk and Norwich Law Society, David Richards, at the Society’s Annual Dinner (September 21st).

Chris was nominated for the award by colleagues at nplaw, which he had helped to establish in 2010 and where he had become the Practice Director in December 2016.

Empty Homes Week announcement

A letter has gone out to Chief Executives and Leaders of local authorities from Helen Williams of the charity Empty Home, announcing Empty Homes Week 2017.  We're sure our  members will be pulling out the stops to make the week a successful one.

The full text of the letter is reproduced below:

Dear Colleague,

We are writing to suggest ways your local authority can get engaged in Empty Homes Week 2017 and update you on our work at Empty Homes - the national campaigning charity. Please circulate this email widely in your local authority, including to those that lead on empty homes, wider housing issues, neighbourhood regeneration and communications.

Empty Homes Week 2017 - Monday 16 October to Sunday 22 October

OTHER STORIES

Grenfell and empty homes - EHN draft contribution to the Inquiry

I have just posted a discussion draft of a document that may be submitted to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and that explores the relevance - or potential relevance - of empty homes for the disaster.

Given media reports of Grenfell survivors continuing to live in hotels, the frequent references to empty homes in Kensington and Chelsea, and the headlines when senior Labour politicians proposed requisitioning empty homes to meet the survivors' immediate housing needs, some kind of formal input from the Network seems essential.

London Mayor calls for higher EHP on luxury empties

Editorial

Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, has written to the government requesting powers to levy higher council tax on empty high-value homes. The press release does not state what level of tax should be charged but says it should be set

'at a meaningful rate that would incentivise occupation, or at the very least generate a more substantial receipt that could support investment in new affordable homes and other measures to tackle the housing crisis.'

Best Before-and-After Photos Award 2017 - winners

This was a new category in our Empty Homes Awards and it produced more entries than we have ever had, in any category.

Sponsorship from Cromwood Social

We also had a new sponsor, in the shape of London social housing provider Cromwood Social thanks in part to the advocacy of  Abdus Saleh, their Head of Investment and Development, who has had a long-time involvement with empty homes issues as an enabler.

Contributing to the Conference Brochure, the organisation wrote:

Innovation Award 2017 - winners

The Innovation Award is the brainchild of Carson Millican (pictured right), trading as Empty Property Solutions Ltd. Now based in Northern Ireland, Carson gained many years’ experience of empty homes work at different London Boroughs and with the East London Regeneration Partnership and has been a stalwart member of the Empty Homes Network for many years, serving on its Executive.

In sponsoring the award, Carson explained as follows:

Calls to requisition luxury flats for Grenfell survivors

The fire at Grenfell House in Kensington and Chelsea has brought empty homes into the headlines, following Jeremy Corbyn’s  call for  unoccupied luxury flats in the borough to be requisitioned to ensure that survivors of the disaster can be housed locally.

When launching his proposal on 15th June, Corbyn explicitly situated it in the context of the supposed buy-to-leave phenomenon (which Corbyn inaccurately referred to as ‘land-banking’). He was reported to have said:

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