'Only developers can solve Bolton's housing crisis', says councillor

Cllr David Chadwick

Cllr David Chadwick

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

BOLTON has thousands of empty properties — but only big developers can solve the town’s housing crisis, according to a leading councillor.

Despite thousands of empty properties, Bolton Council, under government guidelines, has to boost its housing stock by 600 extra homes every year.

Cllr David Chadwick says the council does not have the money to bring the empty homes back into use, so the only way to provide enough additional housing is if large firms build houses and flats.

His comments came during a Westhoughton Town Council discussion on the future of Roscoe’s Farm, which is earmarked for a 99-property housing development.

Cllr Chadwick, for Westhoughton South, argued that, under the last Labour government, developers had to target brownfield sites and rundown homes first.

He claimed if more of these properties were given a new lease of life, it would fulfil eight years of the council’s housing obligations without any further development being needed.

Cllr Chadwick also said Bolton Council has only been able to deal with 50 of the empty homes in the last two years, which are made up of Bolton at Home properties and private houses, as “a priority”.

He added: “The only people that have money are the developers. Peel Holdings owns that land and it has got the money and the clout to throw at it.”

The main reasons for homes being left empty is because the owner cannot afford to upgrade them, or is unwilling to sell because of the housing market.

A council spokesman said: “The number of empty homes in Bolton is falling. We had just under 4,000 empty homes at the end of March, compared to just under 5,000 for the same period last year.

“Of these 1,000 properties, 50 were classified as a priority — the council carries out targeted interventions for empty houses which are a priority based on factors such as the length of time they have been empty and their condition.

“We don’t have the remit to bring all empty properties back into use.”

Cllr Chadwick added that it would be hard to oppose a proposal for Roscoe’s Farm, which is in the council’s housing allocation plan.

Peel Land and Property own the land and has consulted the council over plans to transform it into a 99-house estate.

Westhoughton Town Council said the plan constituted “over-development” at a meeting in March.

Comments (5)

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8:57pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Changing times says...

It's scandalous how many properties are empty in bolton. The council should make it a priority to get more of them back into use, all the money they waste, while they could be ensuring people have a home. I reported an empty house recently and was told they no longer had staff to do anything about it ! Build more yes, but use what is already there.....or is that to simple for bolton council
It's scandalous how many properties are empty in bolton. The council should make it a priority to get more of them back into use, all the money they waste, while they could be ensuring people have a home. I reported an empty house recently and was told they no longer had staff to do anything about it ! Build more yes, but use what is already there.....or is that to simple for bolton council Changing times
  • Score: 2

9:54pm Wed 30 Jul 14

nigella farrage says...

Not quite so simple as Bolton taking over an empty property because firstly they have to find out who owns the property - especially as 99.9% of all empty property are not council owned and are privately owned in or intestate. The Council then have to advise the owner to do something and if all fails then the council has to go to court to gain title for the property, before they can even renovate the property.

It is a costly exercise. One property can cost between £100,000 and £500,000 just to gain the title to, never mind the cost to then renovate the property and then rent it out or sell.
Not quite so simple as Bolton taking over an empty property because firstly they have to find out who owns the property - especially as 99.9% of all empty property are not council owned and are privately owned in or intestate. The Council then have to advise the owner to do something and if all fails then the council has to go to court to gain title for the property, before they can even renovate the property. It is a costly exercise. One property can cost between £100,000 and £500,000 just to gain the title to, never mind the cost to then renovate the property and then rent it out or sell. nigella farrage
  • Score: -1

10:25pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Beyond News Forum says...

Now then was there not a scheme recently which sold houses for a pound to investors who in turn spent £30,000 loans on refurbs and renovations?

A contract not to sell the house for 10-years included... it regenerates whole areas where corporation suck them dry with extortionate house prices and so the knock on effect is people living in them areas tightening their belts.

Why is it that only big companies should benefit from the stock of prime empty buildings?

It makes sense to give first time buyers and young investors a step on the housing ladder, not profiteering screw up corporations.

If homes are left vacant for years to the point they are derelict the law should be clamping down on the owners.
Now then was there not a scheme recently which sold houses for a pound to investors who in turn spent £30,000 loans on refurbs and renovations? A contract not to sell the house for 10-years included... it regenerates whole areas where corporation suck them dry with extortionate house prices and so the knock on effect is people living in them areas tightening their belts. Why is it that only big companies should benefit from the stock of prime empty buildings? It makes sense to give first time buyers and young investors a step on the housing ladder, not profiteering screw up corporations. If homes are left vacant for years to the point they are derelict the law should be clamping down on the owners. Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 7

10:28pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Beyond News Forum says...

nigella farrage wrote:
Not quite so simple as Bolton taking over an empty property because firstly they have to find out who owns the property - especially as 99.9% of all empty property are not council owned and are privately owned in or intestate. The Council then have to advise the owner to do something and if all fails then the council has to go to court to gain title for the property, before they can even renovate the property.

It is a costly exercise. One property can cost between £100,000 and £500,000 just to gain the title to, never mind the cost to then renovate the property and then rent it out or sell.
£500,000?????????? PMSL are you in Essex?
[quote][p][bold]nigella farrage[/bold] wrote: Not quite so simple as Bolton taking over an empty property because firstly they have to find out who owns the property - especially as 99.9% of all empty property are not council owned and are privately owned in or intestate. The Council then have to advise the owner to do something and if all fails then the council has to go to court to gain title for the property, before they can even renovate the property. It is a costly exercise. One property can cost between £100,000 and £500,000 just to gain the title to, never mind the cost to then renovate the property and then rent it out or sell.[/p][/quote]£500,000?????????? PMSL are you in Essex? Beyond News Forum
  • Score: -1

8:40am Thu 31 Jul 14

Balboa says...

If DSS tenants treated their rented properties with a bit of care and respect, and paid their rent on time, perhaps there wouldn't be as many empty homes. It's better to leave them empty than face the costs of clean up and repair to damage.
If DSS tenants treated their rented properties with a bit of care and respect, and paid their rent on time, perhaps there wouldn't be as many empty homes. It's better to leave them empty than face the costs of clean up and repair to damage. Balboa
  • Score: -3

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