Calls for council to force sale of vacant properties in Knaresborough

Stephen Teggin, President of the Knaresborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce

A call has been made to force the sale of vacant property in Knaresborough.

The Knaresborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce has said compulsory purchases of property across the town are needed over concerns of the effect empty High Street shops have on trade.

Stephen Teggin, President of the Knaresborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce said:"While we welcome this it has been a long time coming, the shops that we are talking about have been closed for 30 years. if they were in that condition for 30 years in Harrogate they would have done a lot more and quicker.

"Its that kind of neglect from Harrogate to Knaresborough that has caused it to become a forgotten suburb of Harrogate."

Although wishing to see them returned to use he added the Chamber wants commercial properties retained and not converted into housing, believing this would stretch the town's infrastructure.

Knaresborough Town Council has flagged five properties it wishes to see purchased, including the former cattle market, one property on Littondale Avenue and three on the High Street.

Town Coun Christine Willoughby (Lib Dem) said: "In their Economic Strategy Harrogate Borough Council said they want to support market towns to grow. If they are serious about supporting the economy of our market town then look at our empty shops and unused property, use your powers which will allow something to be done with them."

Compulsory purchase orders have previously been imposed on two residential properties on Heathfield Drive.

Mike Chambers, HBC Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities said:“Compulsory Purchase Orders are always a last resort. They should only be considered if we have been unable to engage with the property owner and if all other avenues have been exhausted.

“We would prefer owners to renovate or voluntary sell their properties wherever possible, rather than having to undertake compulsory purchase."

He added that the owners of Littondale Avenue have been contacted and the request from Knaresborough Town Council is currently being considered.

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