Taking a pride in local neighbourhoods

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.

Still too much fly tipping despite amenity sites having reopened
Pleased to see that the unused telephone kiosk at the Foxwood shops has finally been removed. Hopefully the Council will get this prominent empty bungalow repaired and re–let quickly now
Still too much self inflicted grief. Graffiti on local junction boxes needs to be cleaned off
Grass has now established itself on the area near the new Osprey Close land drain.
Still waiting for hardcore to be put down on the path to ensure that it remains useable in wet weather
Continuing battle to get road repaired. It appears that the funding delegated to ward has not been utilised. Carriageway surfaces are likely to disintegrate when icy weather arrives.
Some good news with the cul de sac on Kingsway West now swept of detritus.
Ongoing problems reported on the “Save Lowfields Playing Field” Facebook page. Main issues relate to early morning noise, dust and further damage to verges in the Dijon Avenue area. (The latter thought to be connected with BT “Open World” works).

York Council says it has brought 17 empty homes back into use

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 also report 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

The Councils Empty Property Strategy is set out in their Private Sector Housing Strategy 2016-2021.

Long time coming but finally York Council set to buy empty homes to ease housing problems

We’ve told the York Council on many occasions over the last seven years that it should use some of the profit on its housing account to buy empty properties on the open market.

Today it seems that action is imminent.

In a media release the Council says,

 “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

New partnership aims to return more long-term empty homes into use in York and Selby

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.

empty-homeDuring 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[1], 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:

Long term empty property finally back in use

9 Bradley Drive

9 Bradley Drive

A small house on Bradley Drive – site of one of York’s longest running empty homes wrangles – is finally ready for re-occupation.

The, privately owned, singe bedroom property, had been empty for over 6 years and had been due to be brought back into use in 2011.

Unfortunately, at that stage, the newly elected Labour Council interrupted the legal process that would have allowed the property to be sold.
9 Bradley Drive bathroom

9 Bradley Drive foreplace 2

The property has finally been restored. It now features modern heating, cooking and bathroom facilities.

Local residents have welcomed the improvement to the neighbourhood that the renovation work has brought.


9 Bradley Drive – Renovation starts

More vandalism reported on 9 Bradley Drive on 11th March

More vandalism reported on 9 Bradley Drive on 11th March

23rd April work starts on renovating 9 Bradley Drive

23rd April work starts on renovating 9 Bradley Drive

We last reported the decaying condition of – long term empty property – 9 Bradley Drive in March.

There has been a catalogue of delays in bring the singe bedroom property back into use but we understand that the Council have now finally gained possession of the property.

The house contents have been removed and the property has been screened against access. New windows and doors are to be fitted.

It is expected that tenants choice contractors will start work before the end of the month with a new tenant likely to move in towards the end of May.

Oliver House – £30,000 taxpayers bill for property empty for 18 months

It has become clear why the Council’s leadership were so reluctant to answer questions about the future of the former elderly person’s home at Oliver House in Bishophill at the last council meeting.

Oliver House York

A Freedom of Information response has revealed that the building is costing taxpayers nearly £2000 a month to keep empty.

The building has been unused since April 2012.

The only “occupants” are a firm called “ad hoc property management” who – in return for access – offer a “free” security service.

No rent or other income has been received for the property.

Discussions with the York CVS, which might have led to the building being sold to them, started in May 2012. They stalled several months ago.

The value of the prime site has been put at over £1 million with offers having apparently already been made, to the Council, by housing developers.

The Council has spent £30,000 over the last 18 months paying rates and on maintaining the empty property.

There are currently over 4500 people on the waiting list for social accommodation in the City. Many of these require single person accommodation

NB. The Guildhall has also now been empty for 8 months and is costing Council taxpayers around £160,000 a year in maintenance, rates and other costs.