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Abandoned houses to be bought by council

Published Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Wellingborough Council’s resources committee has agreed to press ahead with the compulsory purchase of three abandoned houses, as part of its continuing crackdown on empty properties in the borough.

A sum of £300,000 will be made available to cover the purchases, including associated costs such as land registry searches, stamp duty and legal costs. The money will come from the council's capital budget, which is money kept in the bank for large projects that benefit the community, and can't by law be used for the day-to-day running of council services.

The council decided back in April to pursue compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) for eight long-term neglected properties that were attracting squatters and antisocial behaviour, and ruining the look of neighbourhoods. The house owners were all written to and told that the council intended to purchase their properties, renovate them and sell them to new owners.

Since then, enough progress has been made with five of the owners to put the CPOs for their properties on hold for now. Members of the council's resources committee agreed last week to compulsorily purchase the remaining three houses, in Weavers Road, Harrowden Road, and Ash Close, Irchester. They considered that there was a compelling case in the public interest for the CPOs to go ahead and recommended that the orders are made and submitted to the Secretary of State. Once purchased, the council will work to renovate and then reoccupy the houses, either as social housing or on the open market.

Leader of Wellingborough Council, Cllr Paul Bell, said: "These three houses are derelict and unsafe. They've been empty for a number of years, have holes in their roofs, boarded up windows and overgrown gardens. It's not fair on the neighbours to live next to these properties and put up with the antisocial behaviour they attract. We've had lots of complaints about these houses and despite our best efforts it doesn't look like they are likely to be improved, which is why we are pressing ahead with the orders to compulsorily purchase the properties.

"As well as significantly improving our neighbourhoods and removing the health and safety risks to the public, the purchase, renovation and sale of the properties will also provide much-needed new housing."

The decision of the resources committee will go to the meeting of the full council on 31 July for final approval.