Stoke-on-Trent families offered £1 homes – and £30k refurbishment loans
FAMILIES are to be offered the chance to buy boarded-up homes for £1 – and then get low-interest £30,000 loans to refurbish them.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is launching the £3 million scheme to create new communities in areas blighted by empty houses and a high turnover of tenants.
Residents will bid for loans of up to £30,000 to bring 120 empty houses up to standard and then pay the money back each month for the council to reinvest in bringing more empty properties back into use.
As part of the deal, which will be open to 'economically viable' bidders who live or work in Stoke-on-Trent, the residents will have to agree to stay in the house for five years.
Cheap Car Insurance For Drink Drivers -Contact Insure365 01782...View details
Cheap Car Insurance For Drink Drivers -Contact Insure365 01782 898188, Free Legal Protection Included valued at £25.00
Terms: 1 Voucher Per Customer
Contact: 01782 898188
Valid until: Friday, June 21 2013
They would be able to buy the house for just £1 as part of the deal – and it could be extended to include more houses if most of the loans needed to refurbish homes are less than £30,000.
Funding will be targeted in the Portland Street area of Cobridge and the Bond Street area of Tunstall, where derelict properties and short-term tenancies have created major problems with anti-social behaviour.
Many of the homes in Cobridge now stand empty after families were forced to sell up and move under the now defunct Renew regeneration scheme.
The new project will focus on empty council-owned properties but loans will also be available to private owners of empty houses if they agree to move into the properties for five years and not rent them out.
If the homeowner goes on the sell the property, the council would claim a proportion of the sale price to reinvest in the scheme, but leave the owner with enough to buy elsewhere.
John Bannister, aged 72, who lives on the corner of High Street and Bond Street in Tunstall, said: "At the moment there is vandalism, people using the back yards of empty houses for fly-tipping and all kinds of problems. There are 18 empty houses just on Bond Street.
"We want families to come in and stay. Something needs to be done."
Steven Pritchard, chairman of the Portland Street and Cobridge residents' association, said: "It's about time they came up with a sensible idea. People would be delighted with this.
"Having so many empty properties causes fly-tipping as people assume the area is in decay, but it's also just depressing for the people who have to live here with the wind blowing through the empty houses."
The move, which is half-funded by the Government, is due to be approved by cabinet members later this year with a view to launching the scheme in 2013.
Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and community safety said: "The idea would mean the council sells empty properties acquired with Housing Market Renewal funding for a nominal fee and provide new homeowners with a loan of up to £30,000 to implement a series of improvement works that the council deems necessary to bring the property back to a decent standard.
"Bringing empty properties back into use to improve the living standards of homes in Stoke-on-Trent is a key goal."