Burnley has highest number of empty homes in county

The new levy will be imposed based on the amount and size of new developments.
The new levy will be imposed based on the amount and size of new developments.

The blight of empty homes is continuing to stalk Burnley as new figures have revealed the borough has the highest number in the whole of Lancashire.

New figures obtained by the Liberal Democrat party revealed that there are 2,498 vacant homes in Burnley, significantly more than the next highest for the county, Blackburn, which has 1,640 empty properties.

The Burnley Express reported in December that huge strides were being made in the brough to reduce the number of vacant properties, and that indeed the number had fallen significantly from 2010.

Council chiefs reiterated the borough was on the right track in binging down the numbers of empty homes.

Coun. John Harbour, executive member for housing and environment, said: “Last month figures showed the number of long-term empty properties in our borough is falling and we are making progress. But as I pointed out then, we need help from the Government to really turn things round.

“We need support in rebalancing our housing market so that it reflects the needs and aspirations of our residents today. Burnley’s challenges are very different from the ones faced by town and cities in the south.”

Of the 2,498 empty homes in the borough, 356 are considered long-term empty (empty two years or more).

The Burnley Express reported in December that the borough had 1,115 vacant properties – however these were classed as short term empty.

A Burnley Council spokesman said: “Our empty homes programme has successfully seen empty properties renovated and transformed back into homes fit for prupose, and we are building on these achievements.

“Burnley Council is committed to improving our neighbourhoods. If the council didn’t step in these properties would fall further into disrepair. This could attract anti-social behaviour, flytipping and arson – all problems that cause misery to local residents.

“The empty homes programme means houses like these can be renovated and become homes again, helping making the surrounding area more desirable.

“We’ve also introduced policies, through the council tax system, to encourage private landlords to bring properties that are more than two years old back into use.

“We are also working with landlords, under the selective licensing scheme, encouraging and supporting them to properly manage their properties so they are fit for tenants and are being used rather than becoming empty.”