Communities Minister Don Foster has announced that towns across England will benefit from £91 million to refurbish and bring back into use over 6,000 empty homes and derelict homes.
The Minister said that regions in the Midlands and North, where the problem is most acute, would especially benefit from the investment that will create new jobs and boost the building industry.
Speaking today whist visiting an empty homes refurbishment project in Stoke on Trent, Mr Foster said: “The government is doing everything possible to tackle the problem of empty homes and urban blight.
“Today I’m announcing we’re going to do even more, with towns across England benefiting from £91 million to refurbish over 6,000 empty properties to get them back into use.
“This will bring people, shops and jobs back to once abandoned areas, and provide extra affordable homes we so badly need.”
The funding will be spent on refurbishment in areas where empty properties have commonly led to problems such as squatting, rat infestation and collapsing house prices, driving remaining residents away.
The funding is being allocated under two programmes:
- £61 million from the second round of the empty homes funding programme, provided to successful bidders eligible from all areas across England (except London, which will be announced separately) with empty homes. Around two thirds of this (£41 million) is allocated by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to registered social landlords; and the remaining money to community and voluntary groups. Together the 187 successful organisations will bring around 3,200 extra homes back into use.
- £30 million second year award of Clusters of Empty Homes programme funding for twenty partnerships in areas of acute problems such as Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Middlesbrough which will bring around 3,500 homes back into use.
Andy Rose, HCA chief executive, said: “We had a very encouraging response to the funding across a wide range of types of property.
“This demonstrates a strong appetite and scope for bringing empty homes and properties back into use, which will help to reinvigorate our communities and towns. We look forward to working with housing providers to bring these homes forward.”
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Scarborough Development Group has submitted plans to build a £400 million development at Thorpe Park, East Leeds, which could create up to 6,500 new jobs and boost the trades.
The mixed-use development scheme is designed to meet the needs of business occupiers as well as provide a valuable hub for local communities in Leeds.
It comprises 1.2 million sq ft of office space, 130,000 sq ft food storage area, 177,000 sq ft leisure area for hotels and additional 33,000 sq ft for dining outlets.
The project will also bring the delivery of a 113-acre Green Park and Leeds’ first significant new public park in over 100 years.
Commenting on the plans, Mark Jackson, Managing Director of Scarborough Development Group said: “Our new plans will present a step-change at Thorpe Park with a new offer for established businesses, growing businesses and fledgling business.
“We want Thorpe Park to be an engine for economic growth in the immediate area, and a benefit to the whole City Region.”
Mr Jackson outlined the wider benefits of this development for creating new jobs and boosting the local economy.
He said: “Thorpe Park has the potential not just to boost the economy of the city region and help cement Leeds’ position as a regional capital, but also to provide thousands of new job opportunities for local people built around a more diverse economy and range of uses on the park.”