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Plan to turn around Swansea's 1,828 empty private properties

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 29, 2013

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EMPTY private homes having a negative impact on local areas are coming under the microscope in Swansea.

The council is reviewing its empty property strategy which focuses on homes which have been vacant for more than six months.

A report set to go before cabinet members on Thursday describes the problem in the city and county as a "sizeable issue".

There are currently 1,828 empty properties in Swansea — not including council houses — which are known as voids.

Of those vacant private homes, 238 have been empty for five years or more and 105 have been empty for 10 years or more.

However, the previous strategy, which came into play in 2008 has already seen some improvements. Since then 112 long-term empty houses have been brought back into use through council intervention.

Officers enforced the sale of eight of the properties recouping debts relating to the council. They have also used powers under the first Empty Dwelling Management Order in Wales.

Swansea Council cabinet members will be asked on Thursday to approve a revised draft Empty Property Strategy.

The strategy says: "Empty properties are a wasted resource.

"They create areas of dereliction and decay attracting crime and anti-social behaviour."

It is hoped bringing empty homes back into use will help address the desperate need in Swansea for affordable housing. The council alone had 5,950 on the waiting list for homes as of October last year.

As well as seeking to bring empty properties back into use the plan also wants to work on renovating or demolishing problem dilapidated buildings.

"These empty properties represent a wasted resource and a significant loss in council tax revenue," the report adds.

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