Empty Homes

Stoke-on-Trent Council launches second phase of empty homes project



Stoke-on-Trent City Council has launched the second phase of its empty homes project to transform vacant houses into useable properties.

Residents can apply to purchase a renovated, empty home as part of the project known as the reviving communities scheme.

The second phase will see the council invest £1.5m to buy and refurbish up to 25 privately owned but empty properties in the Portland Street area of Hanley.

The first phase – known as the £1 homes scheme – was launched in 2013 and saw 33 properties in Cobridge transformed.

Under the scheme – in exchange for a £1 purchase price – the council renovated the homes and the new owners agreed to repay the costs of renovation through a 10-year, low-interest loan of £30,000.

Strict criteria were applied when choosing participants and this will be the case for the second phase.

The properties will be refurbished by local contractors through the city council’s repair company Unitas Stoke-on-Trent, and the first homes are expected to be handed over to successful applicants in summer/autumn next year.

Throughout the first scheme – before renovations were completed – detailed work was carried out in partnership with the local community and Staffordshire Police to help revive the community spirit, along with a campaign to address social issues that presented potential barriers to social and housing market renewal.

Councillor Randy Conteh, the city council’s cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “The award-winning empty homes scheme has provided an innovative solution for bringing a number of properties back into use in Stoke-on-Trent.

“The repayments from the first scheme are being reinvested in more empty properties – making this a sustainable project offering ongoing value for money for taxpayers and residents.

“The project focuses on providing something affordable, sustainable, imaginative and with the ability to bring back an element of pride to the neighbourhood.

“It not only enables hardworking people on modest salaries to buy homes they would not otherwise be able to afford, it helps to regenerate rundown parts of the city – adding to a sense of community for residents and helping to tackle social issues.

 “In preparation for the launch of the second phase, since late last year, our private sector housing team has been communicating and negotiating with owners of empty properties in the Portland Street area.

“To date, we have 12 long-term empty homes with the aim of acquiring up to a maximum of 25.”

The closing date for applications for the reviving communities scheme is 12th January 2018.


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