As “normality” returns to our streets we are looking to the authorities to demonstrate that they have a plan which will see an increase in social pride in local neighbourhoods.
The Councils much hyped “health hubs” are winding down as the premises they occupy – such as libraries – are made ready for a return to their normal uses.
The longer established neighbourhood hubs have yet to reopen although the extended summer holidays mean that demand for their services is greater than ever. Informal meeting places would provide a welcome relief from social isolation particularly for those who have endured lock-down on their own. They are also a potential valuable resource for families during the extended school break.
Many of the venues for these hubs remain closed with no published plans for them to reopen when social distancing rules allow.
Perhaps surprisingly the York Council has yet to address other tensions which are likely to increase as more people are out and about. There is no room on the agenda for community safety at today’s first COVID “Board” meeting. Yet anti social behaviour is already increasing in some estates as lock-down is eased.
The York Council claims to have brought 17 empty homes back into use during the year ending March 2018.
Responding to a Freedom of Information request the council said that it done so using “informal actions”. It had not resorted to compulsory purchase orders, empty dwelling management orders or enforced sales.
It says that the cost of taking the action was around £19,000.
The Council has a web site which offers advice on empty homes. You can alsoreport any homes which you believe to be empty (anonymously if you wish)
Loans are available from the Council for the owners of empty property who want to bring them up to a living standard
“A request for £2.76 million to match-fund a grant allocation to create 65 shared ownership homes will be made to City of York Council’s executive on 18 May.
The funding is being requested from the council’s Housing Revenue Account capital to match grant funding of £2.76m from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
The bid to the HCA was made in September 2016 to support the delivery of the homes between 2017 and 2020. With an average grant rate of £42,500 per home, the programme aims to help address the affordable housing needs of the city.
Pending the executive’s decision, the 65 homes – depending on market values – will be bought from the open market and/or from new-build residential developments.
The shared ownership scheme aims to help people in housing need but who cannot afford to buy a home on the open market. Under a shared ownership lease the leaseholder buys a share of the property and pays rent on the remainder owned by the landlord, City of York Council.
Martin Farran, City of York Council’s director of adult social care and housing, said: “Through this scheme, we aim to offer more affordable housing options to people in York who can’t afford to buy, without help, from the open market. It will also increase our interest in housing stock across the city to benefit future generations of shared owners”.
The news comes on the same day as the Council confirmed that there are still 1000 people on the waiting list homes in the York area. Most are seeking a different sized property to rent.
It is unclear how many of them will be able to participate in a shared ownership arrangement.
This is how much it will cost you to take advantage of this scheme
Work to bring empty, unused homes back into use is being carried out by a new partnership of City of York Council, Selby District Council and Hunters Property Group.
During Empty Homes Week 2016 which runs from today (28 November) to 2 December, the partnership is encouraging local property owners to get free advice and information on bringing a home which has been empty for six months or more back into use.
This advice is not only being offered to property owners in York but also to owners in Selby because City of York Council is now supporting the District Council’s empty property strategy.
Hunters Property Group has also joined the initiative with the offer of free market advice and auction valuations for the owners of empty property across York and Selby. Owners wanting to understand the market for their property, whatever its condition, and how best to realise its value can call the estate agent’s auction office.
In the past 12 months City of York Council has helped bring 23 homes back into use in the city, by offering owners advice and information, and in some cases by taking enforcement action. According to Council Tax records, in October/November 2016 there were 122 long-term empty properties in the city, which represents 0.5 percent of York’s total housing stock of 86,000 homes. This figure is below the regional and national average.
Since the launch of York’s empty property strategy and action plan there has been a 67 percent reduction in the number of long-term empty homes in the city. There are currently 387 long-term empty properties in Selby District, representing around one percent of the total housing stock.
For information and advice on bringing an empty home back to use, please contact: