The Council is committed to playing its full part in the national campaign to bring empty homes back into use and has had an empty homes strategy for the past 10 years the latest one being 2018 – 2023. The strategy details the aims and objectives of addressing long term empty homes in the district.
The strategy has been updated and it details the positive work that has been achieved since 2018 and outlines a revised plan for the next 5 years to tackle empty homes across all tenures within the Arun district. This report therefore recommends the adoption of the new Empty Homes Strategy 2023 – 2028 which is appended to the report.
Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Principal Environmental Health Officer presented the report to Committee. She explained that the report detailed the Council’s third Empty Homes Strategy and the positive work that had been achieved in this area in the past 5 years. The Council was committed to playing its part in the national campaign to bring empty homes back into use. Since 2006 there had been a part time Empty Homes Officer and in April 2017 this was made full time. In addition, in 2022 a part time resource for a Technical Support Assistant was made available to work alongside the Empty Homes Officer. The Empty Homes Officer worked closely with colleagues within the Revenues and Benefits Team and monthly reports were received from Council tax records in terms of those properties that were recorded as empty, which were properties empty for more than 12 months, and did not include second homes or those properties going through probate.
The Principal Environmental Health Officer highlighted Paragraph 3.8 of the report, which identified the number of properties brought back into use as a direct result of the activity of the Empty Homes Officer.
The Empty Homes Strategy had three key stages which The Principal Environmental Health Officer went through and explained to the Committee. These were Engage; Encourage; and Enforce. The Empty Homes work had been recognised Nationally via the Empty Homes Network and received a number of awards.
The Principal Environmental Health Officer highlighted the changes in the updated Empty Homes Strategy for 2023-2028. She explained the Empty Homes function had shown successful activity over the past two successive strategies spanning 10 years, but this continued to be an evolving and important area of work in bringing much needed empty homes back into use. Members were requested to support the adoption of the Empty Homes Strategy 2023 -2028.
Members then took part in a question-and-answer session and the following points were made:
The recommendation was proposed by Councillor Stanley and seconded by Councillor Bicknell.
That committee adopt the Empty Homes Strategy 2023 – 2028.