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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:
Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, has been appointed Minister of State for Housing and Planning at the Department of Communities and Local Government.
His predecessor, Gavin Barwell, lost his seat in the June 2017 General Election. Sharma's own majority was reduced from over 6,000 to 2,876.
This is our longest-running awards category and it always attracts high quality submissions, making the choice of winners difficult.
This year, the award was sponsored and judged by Kent’s No Use Empty team, who certainly are well-equipped with all the necessary experience needed to evaluate the entries.
In the event, they selected one outright winner, and also gave a ‘highly commended’ award. The awards were presented at the Empty Homes Conference in Bimringham by Steve Grimshaw, Programme Manager, Kent County Council.
With the election only a few days away and all the manifestos now published, this is a good time for a brief look at policy proposals connected to bringing empty property back into use for housing.
Delegates to the 2017 Empty Homes Conference, held in Birmingham last week, gave it an average rating of 4.73 out of 5, making it the highest-scoring such event held to date.
A strong line-up of speakers was undoubtedly a big factor. Among the most popular sessions was that presented by Kerry Morgan-Gould (pictured right) and Vicki Green, of Ashfords Solicitors, about dealing with dificult Probate cases. But that was just one example from among many.
A very successful and well-attended Empty Homes Conference on Wednesday in Birmingham contained one poignant moment, when the delegates showed their appreciation for Chris Skinner, who sadly died in February, by offering a collective salute.
Chris was well-known for his work as a solicitor supporting Empty Homes practitioners up and down the country over many years, particularly in the area of Compulsory Purchase. He had also spoken at two previous conferences.
Destin Solutions Ltd. is seeking to help local authorities maximise NHB by partnering with a local authority empty homes team or practitioner to pilot new approaches to data cleansing of the 2017 CTB return.
Cromwood Social has stepped in to sponsor the Empty Homes Award for Best Before-and-After Photo, which is a new award category this year. Details of the Award Category can be found in our news story here.
We were contacted yesterday by Cromwood's Abdus Saleh with the offer of sponsorship, which we were happy to accept. Cromwood Social is also going to provide Silver Supporter sponsorship.
Shelter Scotland has issued a Local Government Manifesto for Homes - part of their 'Homelessness - Far from Fixed' campaign - which calls for every local authority to employ a dedicated Empty Homes Officer.
The manifesto is aimed at the local government elections and is part of a campaign to get candidates to sign up to four commitments.
Commitment 1, 'Deliver a home for everyone in Scotland', includes 3 action points: