Council to consider buying these empty homes in Harrogate and Ripon

Harrogate Borough Council will consider the purchase of three homes at a meeting later this month.
Harrogate Borough Council will consider the purchase of three homes at a meeting later this month.

Three empty properties could be purchased by the local authority, as Harrogate Borough Council seeks to crack down on unused homes in the district.

Three empty properties could be purchased by the local authority, as Harrogate Borough Council seeks to crack down on unused homes in the district.

Cabinet members at their next meeting will consider a proposal to buy three homes: 21 Oatlands Drive at Harrogate; 16 Richmond Road, Harrogate; and 18

Borrage Lane at Ripon.

The council have put aside a total of £625,000 to purchase the three properties.

According to a report on the matter, there are currently 1,028 properties across the district that have been empty for six months or longer.

Of these, 212 have been empty and unfurnished for more than two years and consequently classified as long-term empty homes, while another 36 have been empty for more than 10 years.

In February, the cabinet approved an Empty Homes Strategy aimed at bringing vacant properties back into use, which starts with offers to voluntarily purchase the property from a homeowner at market value.

If that tactic is unsuccessful, the strategy could ultimately lead to a compulsory purchase order being enacted.

While these proposed purchases require approval from the entire cabinet, the report also recommends that in the future permission to buy unused properties is required solely from the housing and safer communities cabinet member, a portfolio currently held by Coun Mike Chambers.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter