£9m. to renovate empty homes in Burnley

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HUNDREDS of empty homes in Burnley could be renovated under a new £9m. housing regeneration plan.

Burnley Borough Council has submitted a £4.5m. “expression of interest” to be part of the Government’s Clusters of Empty Homes programme.

The substantial bid hopes to tap into £50m. of Homes and Communities Agency funding and town hall bosses expect to find out shortly whether the project will be taken forward.

In more good news for the town, the council has successfully secured another £4.8m. housing cash bid from the Empty Homes programme.

The bid for the £100m. scheme is the second highest in the country and will see 68 properties in Burnley given a new lease of life.

The council is working alongside landlord Calico to ensure the properties are improved and re-occupied over the next three years.

In a report to the council, Coun. Peter McCann, Burnley Council’s executive member for Housing and Development Control, said: “These initiatives are evidence of the council taking the lead in tackling a major challenge for the borough’s housing strategy.”

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell explained that each application would have to propose bringing back at least 100 homes into use under the Clusters of Empty Homes programme.

He said: “It’s shocking that hundreds of thousands of houses sit unoccupied while people are in need of a home of their own.

“Thousands of homes have already been brought back into use in the last year – but there are still many areas where there are whole streets of abandoned homes.”

Burnley Council said it had spent around £1.25m. this financial year on housing clearance in the borough and exceeded the annual demolition targets by 55%.