George Clarke, whose Channel 4 programme The Great British Property Scandal made such an impact, has now been appointed as Independent Empty Homes Adviser to the government, a new role that seems to have been created for him.
According to the CLG website, his role "will particularly involve:
- promoting bringing empty homes back into use
- raising public awareness of the benefits of bringing empty homes back into use and encouraging people to report empty homes in their area
- encouraging councils, housing associations and voluntary groups to identify innovative and good ideas and sharing this across communities
- challenging Government and other public bodies to ensure publicly-owned homes are not left empty; and
- exploring whether current plans for demolition in councils could be scaled back."
George's response to his new role was "I care passionately about this subject and I'll leave no stone unturned in my efforts to find a solution to the problem and get these houses back into use for the families who need them."
It is not clear from the CLG news story whether this is a paid role or not.
The Empty Homes Network Executive decided in December to offer Honorary Life Membership of the Network to George Clarke in recognition of his role not just in raising awareness of the issue of empty homes but also in showing the contribution that a committed individual can make. We subsequently supplied additional information that was requested but we have heard nothing more. We wish him well in his new role and look forward to an invigorated empty homes campaign.