Govt funding for empty homes 'is very welcome'
29th Nov 2011
The government's announcement that a significant amount of money is to be apportioned to regenerate vacant housing areas in England is "very welcome", according to one sector body.
David Ireland, chief executive at Empty Homes, gave his backing to housing minister Grant Shapps' announcement that more than £71 million will be allocated to help families in half-empty and abandoned streets, as a consequence of a controversial regeneration scheme introduced in 2002.
Mr Shapps said the new fund will help tackle the 'ghost streets' across the Midlands and the north of England left by the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder programme, which led to the demolition and clearance of dilapidated streets across the country, but left thousands of families in unsellable homes.
Mr Ireland has had some misgivings about the previous announcement in this area because it turned out to be regarding the demolition of houses or moving people out of areas with high levels of vacancy, rather than dealing with the problem of getting properties back into use.
"This new money, as I understand it, is restricted to bringing empty properties back into use, so we welcome it," he added.
The expert claimed there is "no way" that the funding will pay for all of the work required, but it can "start to set off schemes" which could then gain momentum.
"In many of those areas, there is a market which doesn't really flow. If this could actually get something going then we might [see] a market which can actually recover," Mr Ireland noted.
© Zoopla Property Group Limited