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Councillor reveals scandal of empty homes in Bromsgrove

November 27, 2020 12:02 PM

Leader of the Bromsgrove Lib Dems, Cllr Rob Hunter, has called for action on empty homes after it was revealed that more than 160 homes across the district are unoccupied, and some have even been redundant for more than ten years. The shocking waste of homes has come at a time when housing need is growing across the district.

Last year the number of households on the local authority waiting list for rehousing increased from 2,378 to 2,862. The figures were also revealed as Bromsgrove responded to the Government's Planning White Paper which some opposition councillors including the Lib Dems have argued would put the green belt at risk.

Cllr Rob Hunter said: "For my day job I work for a social housing provider so I understand how desperate some of these families will be for a new home. It cannot be right that we have scores of homes sat empty in our district whilst other families are left languishing on the housing waiting list."

The Lib Dems have called for a new approach which includes charging council tax premiums on homes that have been empty for a long time. The proposals will now be examined in detail after a motion was passed at the October meeting of Bromsgrove District Council.

Fellow local Lib Dem campaigner Samuel Evans, who has not yet been able to get on the housing ladder himself added: "This is not about punishing people who are going through life changes. Council officers will be looking at the details carefully to make sure nobody is targeted who has a genuine reason for leaving their home empty, such as serving in our armed forces. However, we would like to see those who choose to leave homes empty over many years pay a premium for that choice. Ultimately, there is an acute shortage of homes and those that are fortunate enough to own multiple properties should have a responsibility to make the best use of them."