Posts Tagged ‘empty properties’

We must bring derelict properties back into use if we want to tackle rural homelessness

14/12/2012, 09:04:12 AM

Last month Penny Henderson won the “top of the policies” vote at Pragmatic Radicalism’s event in Kendal in South Lakeland. The winning proposal tackled the question of reducing rural homelessness

The right to a home is a basic human right. And a home in the community in which you have lived your whole life hardly seems too much to ask. Labour should stand for strong communities, whether these are rural or urban communities.

Rural communities need to know that Labour is with them if we are to be one nation. This does not need to be an empty commitment either. There are simple, practical steps that the party can commit to, which would make a real difference.

One such measure would be that the ownership of land and/or property derelict for a long period of time (e.g. 5 years) should revert to the local authority and be given over to affordable housing and/or council rented properties.

Gaining planning permission for new housing developments is often challenging in national parks but this should be less complicated in the context of these “brown field” developments. There are a surprisingly large number of properties that fall into this category.

Public authorities have the power to compulsorily purchase derelict land and property but it is rarely used and is legally complicated. The Labour party should make this procedure easier for local authorities.

While there is hardly any land available for new building in the Lake District, South Lakeland has “about 1,000 empty dwellings” (councillor J.Brook, housing and development portfolio holder, South Lakeland district council).


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