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Sale of empty properties will fund new housing

Posted by on 29 October 2019 | Comments

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The first of three Lowestoft properties, which have stood empty for several years due to low demand from tenants, has been put up for sale.

The sale of these properties, which is a decision supported by the local community, will remove the issues associated with long-term empty properties, such as anti-social behaviour, and encourage new families to the area. The decision was taken by East Suffolk Council’s cabinet on Tuesday 1 October and proceeds will be reinvested into new affordable housing elsewhere.

The Council currently owns five 6-bedroomed properties in Cleveland Road, four of which are unoccupied. Due to low demand for homes of this size from families on the housing register, some of these properties have been empty for several years. This has resulted in their deterioration, as well as encouraging anti-social behaviour, such as vandalism, fly-tipping and squatting.

Having considered a range of alternative uses for these houses, including conversion into smaller flats and a supported housing scheme, it has been decided private sale is now the best option. Proceeds from the sales will be reinvested into more suitable affordable housing in the town.

Cllr Richard Kerry, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for Housing, said:

“Increasing housing provision for people in housing need and reducing the number of long-term empty homes are both key ambitions for the Council. By developing new sites and refurbishing older empty properties, we are working to increase the amount of homes available.

We have considered many options for the properties at Cleveland Road. However, there is very little local demand for such large properties from those on our housing register and as we are unable to remodel these houses due to planning policy, the most sensible option is to make them available for private sale.

Proceeds from the sales will be reinvested into the development of new and more suitable affordable housing, which will better suit the needs of our tenants now and in the future.”

The Council’s Cabinet approved the sale of up to all 5 properties, meaning that should the currently occupied property become vacant in future, this could also then be sold.

Previous options considered for these properties included conversion into flats however Cleveland Road is within the ‘flat saturation zone’ so this was not a feasible option. Another proposal was for conversion into a supported housing scheme however this was declined due to planning policy.