Getting tough on eyesores
THE owners of dilapidated empty properties are being told to carry out improvements on the homes so they can be lived in again.
Cheshire East Council has taken the action on two houses in Crewe in a bid to improve the appearance of the area.
Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the owners of the two derelict properties in Nantwich Road and Gainsborough Road are required to upgrade their homes so they can be put back into use.
Mark Harthern, aged 31, who lives in Nantwich Road, said the property has been empty for years.
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He said: "It's a real eyesore for residents who live here. It looks really run down with broken windows and boards up everywhere. I rent my home but for people who have bought a place, it could affect the value of their properties, living near a house like that. The house near it is up for rent, but who would want to live near a house like that?"
Charlotte Woods, aged 27, Smallman Road, said: "The fact that the house is left empty is such a waste. A lot of people need places to rent or are looking for homes to buy and there's a perfectly good house there which is left in a state.
"There was a fire there a few years back, which spread to other houses next door and since then, no one has been in it. The back yard has been used as a skip by people chucking rubbish there. It's disgusting."
The council says the crackdown is part of an ongoing campaign to help bring more homes back into use.
If homes are left empty, the council can enforce a compulsory purchase order to buy the property, which they can sell or lease to a housing partner or sell on the open market.
Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cheshire East Cabinet member in charge of prosperity and economic performance, said: "Empty homes are a wasted resource and a frequent cause of nuisance to neighbours and other residents. "Owners of empty homes are urged to contact our private sector housing team, who can offer assistance and advice in bringing homes back into use."