Monday, 17 December 2012

Leeds makes empty properties a priority

 Leeds is continuing to turn round empty homes in a drive to provide more housing in the city.

Progress has already been made with 1526 homes being brought back into use as a direct result of actions by the council in the first half of the year.

Reducing the number of long term empty properties is a top 25 priority for the council and funding to address empty properties is a key issue. Leeds has had access to the

West Yorkshire Recycling Empties Fund which has allowed the council to undertake compulsory purchase action and enforced sales in recent years.

Work is already on going to develop closer working with new partners to improve the options available to owners to bring properties back into use. This will allow more owners to help themselves and will allow the Council to concentrate its resources on properties where the owner is not willing to bring it back into occupation without proactive enforcement, including compulsory purchase.

Earlier this year the executive board agreed in principle to agree a three year investment programme to support empty property work with the money supporting locality work and capital investment in empty properties. The Council is currently discussing the target areas that this funding will be used for.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:
“Bringing empty homes back into use is a top priority for the council and something that we are making good progress.

“We know that no single action will bring empty properties into use so the council is working with partners to look at the wider scale of empty properties in the private sector too. Recently with support from the council, Connect, LATCH, Canopy and GIPSIL were successful in obtaining empty property funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to bring back 48 long term empty properties by March 2015.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Council takes action on eyesore garden

A south Leeds man found himself on the naughty list earlier this month after failing to heed warnings to clear his eyesore garden.

David Ross was using his property at 174 Wide Lane, Morley as an unofficial dumping ground with bags of wood, plastic barrels, building waste, rotting food and bike parts piled high.

Ignoring advice and warnings from the council to clear the garden culminated in an appearance before magistrates on 5 December when Ross was fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of £412.53 and £15 victim surcharge.

Concerned neighbours complained about the blot the garden had become in the local community and the unpleasant smell coming from the heap of waste.

Council enforcement officers were on hand to lend Ross their experience and expertise so he could dispose of the rubbish properly.

Ross disregarded this advice so was served a legal notice giving him 28 days to clean up his garden.

Despite the threat of court proceedings if he ignored the litter clearing notice, Ross failed to remove the rubbish. His lack of action led to prosecution.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:

“We’re always willing to work with residents so issues like this don’t become a real nuisance. We won’t stand for anyone ignoring their responsibilities despite our intervention. We will use all the tools at our disposal to ensure communities don’t suffer from the actions of inconsiderate individuals.”

Leeds City Council has now cleared the garden and will be recovering clean up costs from Ross.

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577