The government's consultation on New Homes Bonus contains both good and bad news for empty homes practitioners. The good news is no news: there is no proposal to remove the reward for reducing the number of long term empty homes. The bad news is just about everything else in the consultation document, the main effect of which will be to reduce the level of reward and thus potentially reduce the commitment to empty homes initiatives.
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The report prepared by Lancashire County Council's Internal Audit Team into the Rossendale/PLACE Empty Homes Project reveals an extraordinary number of flaws in basic processes of management and procurement associated with the HCA-funded scheme.
The Assemble collective has won the internationally famous Turner Prize for its work with residents of Granby 4 Streets in Toxteth in Liverpool. The award was presented live on television in a Channel 4 show.
Following a letter we sent to Rt Hon. Greg Clark, MP, Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, the Empty Homes Network has now received a response from Brandon Lewis, MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning.
New research from David Mullins and Halima Sacranie at the School of Social Policy, Birmingham University, spells out in detail the achievements of community housing organisations funded through the government's Community Grants Programme for empty homes.
Sheffield Hallam University has now produced its final evaluation of the Welsh Houses to Homes initiative, highlighting its successes and offering recommendations to build on the experience to date.
This was the second year that this Partnership award has been presented at our Empty Homes Awards 2015 ceremony, (ceremony sponsored by Grafton UK Ltd). The Award was jointly sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and the Empty Homes Network itself, reflecting the commitment of both organisations to fostering partnership working between local authorities and community organisations.
The Nationwide Foundation has launched a new, £1million empty properties funding programme to bring long-term empty properties back into use for people in housing need. This follows on from a previous, similar programme.
Applicants must be not-for-profit, non-statutory organisations and may seek funding in the form of grant or social investment or both. Bids may range between £100,000 and £175,000. Encouragement is given to projects that:
The Empty Homes Agency has produced a report about the numbers of empty homes in England, making recommendations for some key measures to bring the numbers down. The Agency has for many years been the custodian of figures about empty homes in England: but this beautifully-written report by Helen Williams is the first attempt for a more user-friendly approach to the statistics, featuring useful maps and clearly-written explanations of both methodology and interpretation.
This year's Empty Homes Awards attracted a wide range of impressive submission and were presented at our May Conference at a ceremony sponsored by Grafton UK Ltd. We'll be highlighting the details of winning submissions over the next few weeks.
According to a report in the Lancashire Telegraph, and confirmed by a statement on the Rossendale Borough Council website, a key provider in £5.6million empty homes programme has gone into administration. The company, AAAW Ltd., is reported to have debts of over £275,000.
It is understood that most if not all of the reported £5.6 million was funding from the Homes and Communities Agency under the empty homes programme. In addition, AAAW seems to have been involved in a wide range of leasing and letting services connected with homelessness.
As of 17th July 2015, the London Borough of Islington has introduced an innovative new planning policy aimed at tackling the so-called "buy-to-leave" phenomenon. Islington's approach relies on a Supplementary Planning Document entitled "Preventing Wasted Housing Supply". This will require developers to sign a "Section 106" agreement [S106] aimed at ensuring that homes are occupied after they are completed: effectively the agreement cascades down to individual owners as the S106 obligations run with the land as a land charge.
It is with deep sadness that I must inform you of the death of Dominic Gordon earlier this month.
Tameside Council has recently completed a two year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) in collaboration with the University of Salford. The KTP set out to explore the reasons for empty ownership in the borough. Instead of concentrating exclusively on the physical and geographical nature of the empty homes , our research attempted, where possible, to focus on this social phenomenon from the perspective of the empty home owner.
Despite the cuts, the Empty Homes Conference 2015 was the biggest of any of the events organised by the Empty Homes Network to date, with nearly 120 delegates attending from all parts of the UK, from Scotland to Cornwall to Kent to Wales.
An analysis of seven party manifestos reveals little to get excited about when it comes to proposals for tackling empty homes.
Empty Homes Agency Chief Executive Helen Williams is pushing Parliamentary candidates in England to commit to doing more about empty homes in the runup to the General Election on May 7th.
Candidates from all the main parties have been sent emails which EHA says "has prompted a good deal of interest, pledges and tweets across the political spectrum."
Email to prospective parliamentary candidates:
Empty Homes Agency campaign to reduce long-term empty homes
Research commissioned by Callcredit Information Group reveals that there is a strong preference for retaining empty homes and regeneration rather than replacing them with new homes.
The research was conducted online by Yougov on 9th-10th April and involved 1,782 adults, with figures weighted to be representative of all UK adults. Callcredit sell their data so we have not been able to analyse it any further than the information provided in their press release, which can be found here.
A Yougov poll on behalf of the Homeowners Alliance shows that the second most popular housing policy, amongst those currently put forward by the major parties leading up to the election, is Labour's policy to allow councils to charge more council tax on empty homes.