New lease of life for row of Wallsend homes
The properties, located on Charlotte Street in Wallsend, have suffered years of neglect and were left uninhabitable after the landlord was declared bankrupt.
Now the properties are in the hands of the council which is developing plans to revive them as family homes and reverse the decline of the street.
Coun Steve Cox, cabinet member for housing, said: “It’s always sad to see properties fall into a state of disrepair and these homes have become an eyesore for the local community and a magnet for antisocial behaviour and crime.
“I am really pleased that the council has been able to support the residents in the street and the wider community by purchasing these properties and start planning the best way to bring them back into use as homes for affordable rent.
“This won’t happen overnight, but we are now in the process of clearing away debris and making the properties secure, so residents should see some improvement straight away.”
The 11 properties are Tyneside flats, with one flat above and one below, but several have been converted into houses.
Their increasingly dilapidated state became a concern to neighbours, as the properties became a target for crime and vandalism. One property used for growing cannabis was destroyed by fire and another was used as an illegal puppy farm.
Eight of the properties could now be refurbished to create four family homes, while the other three will remain as flats to provide a range of available properties.
The council now has new powers to charge a higher council tax premium to discourage landlords who let their properties fall into disrepair.
There are currently 460 empty properties in the borough – 305 of which have been empty for two to five years, 104 for between five and 10 years, and 51 for more than 10 years.
Most of the long-term empty properties are in the lowest Council Tax band and often in more deprived areas of the borough.