Empty homes to be put back into use

From left, Coun John Riddle, Andrew Jude of Westdale Services, Coun Mark Swinburn and Laura Graham, of Northumberland County Council.
From left, Coun John Riddle, Andrew Jude of Westdale Services, Coun Mark Swinburn and Laura Graham, of Northumberland County Council.

A number of empty homes are a step closer to reopening their doors to new tenants, thanks to work by Northumberland County Council.

The council has been given interim Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) for four properties in Blyth and Ashington, which means the council can take over their management and get them back into use.

The next step in the process is for the council to apply for a final EDMO, which would allow the council full control over who any future tenants would be, without having to consult with the property owner.

It is hoped that work to repair the homes will start in September, with the first tenants expected to move in later that month.

Using a £750,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the council has been able, for the first time, to use its powers to initiate the EDMO process.

Coun John Riddle, cabinet member for planning, housing and resilience, said: “Empty properties can be a real blight on a community, affecting everything from local businesses to public services, such as schools and transport.

“These EDMOs are the next step in the council’s commitment to providing much needed family homes across the county.

“Thanks to funding from the HCA we will now able to give these properties a new lease of life, and we look forward to welcoming new tenants soon.”

Meanwhile, at the Energy Efficiency and Healthy Homes Awards last week, the council picked up highly commended in the Landlord of the Year category and commended in the Small Project of the Year (under £250,000) award (pictured above).

The awards were in relation to a pilot project in Cramlington which has transformed a Dorran-style property into a more energy-efficient property.