Still more than two thousand long-term empty homes in Southend-on-Sea

The empty homes numbers for Southend-on-Sea provide enlightening reading.

The current tally is 2277 (emptyhomes.com), which whilst the lowest figure for eleven years is still high enough, for instance, to solve the “where do we house the refugees” question.

This number is for what is described as ‘long-term’ empty homes – this does not include those properties temporarily vacant (between lettings, for instance), and whilst some will be unsuitable for immediate re-use, many will be able to help solve part of the local housing crisis.

Local authorities do have powers to put these homes back into circulation, and whilst it is not always straightforward, it is made simpler if the will is there. Councils can compulsory purchase, take over land, enforce sale, require that a property be made safe, as well as issue empty dwelling management orders.

I have highlighted the issue of empty properties in Southend-on-Sea on a number of occasions, and in a time of unaffordable housing this is a situation that causes me much regret. This regret is enhanced when one considers the plight of the homeless and those fleeing persecution and death.