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.
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.
We are looking for submissions for two more categories in the Empty Homes Awards 2017. These are new categories which are being sponsored by the Empty Homes Network itself this year.
Best before-and-after photos
This Award is now being sponsored by Cromwood Social which is a part of the Cromwood Group.
Whilst the Conservative goverment at Westminster removed empty homes from the policy landscape in the wake of the 2015 General Election (following the complete absence of the issue from the Tory election manifesto) the issue is alive and kicking amongst Scottish Conservatives. Partly no doubt thanks to Shelter Scotland's successful Empty Homes Partnership, there seems to be a a broad-based, cross-party consensus about the need for central (in this case, Scottish) government to play its part.
Every year, at the National Empty Homes Conference, we present awards to recognise excellence in empty homes work. One of the most coveted awards is that for Empty Homes Practitioner of the Year.
We are proud that this year's award is sponsored by Kent's No Use Empty partnership, led by Kent County Council.
Preparations are well in hand for the national Empty Homes Conference to be held in Birmingham on Wednesday 24th May.
A strong line-up has just been boosted by news that Martin Yardley, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, is going speak - the programme will be amended shortly.
Christopher Frank Skinner
Chris Skinner died on 14 February on his 59th birthday at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, close to his home in Hethersett.
Chris had been in hospital since late December suffering from Guillain Barré syndrome and his sudden death was as a result of complications.
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 introduced a number of small changes to compulsory purchase procedures, which have little impact in relation to the compulsory acquisition of empty homes. There were, however, two provisions which are of greater note. One allows the Secretary of State to delegate to an inspector the decision whether or not to confirm a contested CPO. The other provides for the Secretary of State to specify time limits for making decisions on contested CPOs.