Aug 132013
 

Empty and neglected homes across the are being brought back into use as of Yorkshire Council steps up action against owners and landlords.

The council is one of the foremost councils across England in tackling this issue which faces all local authorities.

Currently there are 5,710 empty homes, which is 3.8 per cent of all East Riding dwellings. Of these, 1,250 are classed as being long term empty, meaning they have been empty for six months or more. This is a significant decrease compared with 2,000 long term empty properties in October 2011.

Councillor Symon Fraser, portfolio holder for environment, and planning, said: “Three years ago a plan of action was put in place to tackle the unacceptable number of properties left empty and causing a nuisance. These were properties that would make some family a good home.

“Bringing long term empty properties back into use can be a lengthy process, particularly if legal action is needed. But over the last couple of years we have been seeing a huge improvement as the number has been falling.

He said: “There are an endless number of reasons why properties should not be left empty and rotting: they attract crime such as vandalism, arson, fly tipping and vermin. Their deteriorating state can also damage adjoining properties.

“It also uses council taxpayers’ money to make these properties secure when the owner is not known.”

An example of the cost to the council is that of a house in Lansdowne Road, which was empty for 14 years. The total cost to the council over a 12 month period was £8,000. This does not reflect the reduced value of neighbouring properties or police costs for dealing with anti social behaviour or fire service costs in dealing with incidents.

Nigel Leighton, director of environment and neighbourhood services, said; “We start every process by trying to work in partnership with owners of empty properties. We have found that in many cases encouragement and persuasion to undertake repairs has worked very well.

“Initially, a letter is sent or a visit is made to the owner and this generally has the desired effect in that the property is brought into use.

“Where things become more difficult, for example when persuasion and negotiation fail and an owner doesn’t carry out remedial work then there are several paths we can take, but giving up isn’t one of them.”

Options include:

Voluntary acquisition is when the council and the owner of an empty property reach an agreement for the council to buy it at an agreed price. In the past three years the council has voluntary acquired six properties and put them back in use. (Brandesburton 1, Bridlington 1, Hessle 1, 2 and Willerby 1)

Empty dwelling management orders (EDMO) are an interim measure which allows the council to take possession of a property and to get it occupied. While this is an action open to councils, it is not one that this council has yet used.

Compulsory purchase orders are carried out only with approval from the Secretary of State responsible for communities and local . This is a lengthy process taking up to a year. The council has compulsory purchased four properties in the last three years ( 1, Bridlington 1, Hessle 1 and 1).

Mr Leighton said: “The reasons why properties are left empty and to deteriorate are as varied as the properties themselves. They include homes left empty after the death of the occupant or a property which has been willed to someone who is reluctant to accept it.

“There are also situations where the owner has allowed the house to become run down and can no longer afford to bring it back into order. Other properties are just abandoned or have been bought as an and just left empty.”

In 2012 the council published its Empty Homes Strategy, outlining its plans to reduce the number of empty properties. This includes imposing a premium 150 per cent of the on a property which has been empty for two years and more.

The council has also been awarded over £400,000 of grant funding as part of the Government’s Empty Homes Programme to bring 30 empty properties back into use. The council has also set aside capital funding from its own budgets to pay to acquire properties, the money being recovered when the properties are sold.

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Council has successfully bid for £1m in funding to help build an extra care sheltered scheme in .

The authority is one of only 86 successful bidders outside London to be allocated Department of Health grant funding for the scheme, which is proposed for land in Queens Road.

The money will come from the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund. The £6.75m scheme will provide 40 two-bedroom apartments for older people. Care and support which will be tailored to need will be provided on site, along with communal facilities. Extra care sheltered housing seeks to allow people with care and support needs to live independently in self-contained apartments which will reduce admissions to hospitals and residential care.

The cost includes the replacement of the existing all-weather sports pitch on the site to a more suitable location. The rest of the funding comes from the council’s capital programme and borrowing. The proposals come after the council’s housing strategy identified a need for an older person’s extra care scheme in Beverley.

A planning application for the sheltered housing scheme will soon be considered by of Yorkshire Council’s planning committee. Councillor Symon Fraser, Council portfolio holder for environment, housing and planning, said:

“This is a great opportunity for the council to provide affordable rented accommodation which will help older people remain active for as long as possible without needing to move into a residential care home.”

“Not only will the proposed scheme provide modern, spacious affordable housing for older people, but it will provide employment and training opportunities in the local area.”

Councillor Richard Harrap, portfolio holder for adult and carer services, said:

“Housing plays a crucial role in helping older and disabled people to live as independently as possible and, as the East Riding has an ageing population, in this type of supported affordable housing is more important than ever. Moreover, better and more suitable housing will reduce pressures on carers and families.”

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of Yorkshire Council is highlighting the help it gives to residents moving into new rented accommodation to know more about their bin collections and recycling.

The service, for tenants, letting agents and landlords, includes a range of assistance including visits from recycling officers, free information packs and access to the council site, www.eastriding.gov.uk

The council has 11,300 council homes and the 2011 census shows there are up to 17,800 privately rented properties in the East Riding.

Tenants, landlords and agents can also use the council’s recycling email address, wastewatchers@eastriding.gov.uk or can call (01482) 395586 for information about recycling matters, request blue and brown bins and food waste caddies and liners.

To arrange a free visit from a council recycling officer, email wastewatchers@eastriding.gov.uk.

Private landlords and letting agents are advised to let the recycling team know of a new tenancy at the same time as they notify the team of a change of tenant.

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Concuil

’s 2013 – 2018 sets out how the Council and its partners will work together to tackle the causes of homelessness and meet the needs of people without access to a home of their own.

This new strategy builds on the work of the last Homelessness Strategy published in 2008. It has been developed after consideration of the findings of an independent homelessness review (undertaken in August 2012) and utilises a range of data sources, including official statistics and stakeholder surveys.

The number of households accepted as being owed the main homelessness duty by the Council has been increasing year on year, with 463 homelessness acceptances in 2011 compared to only 337 in 2009.

Despite a slight fall in numbers in 2012, there are concerns that people are increasingly facing difficulties in managing their income and costs as a result of the continuing economic downturn, and this is likely to be exacerbated by the changes to from April 2013 and the introduction of Universal Credit from October 2013.

Recognising the importance of early intervention and prevention to reduce homelessness, the Council and its partners have identified the following three priority outcomes.

The first is to prevent households from becoming homeless through effective partnership working. Vulnerable individuals at risk of homelessness will be identified at an early stage of their housing need, and their underlying problems addressed before they reach a crisis point.

Key to this will be effective information and advice services, and the Council will work with the voluntary sector to improve the quality and accessibility of housing advice provision across the .

The second priority outcome is to ensure that there are effective pathways into housing for people that are homeless. This will help to prevent repeat homelessness and make the goal of independent living more attainable for vulnerable people at risk of homelessness. It will also help to ensure that there is sufficient movement through schemes to promote the availability of supported and temporary  for those that need it most.

The third priority outcome is to secure access to safety net services and support for those in crisis to manage a transition to settled . Alongside the housing, pathway set out in outcome two, this outcome will ensure that there are sufficient support services for the most vulnerable groups, including people that are sleeping rough and young people.

This will help the Council to achieve the ’s No Second Night Out aim.

This aims to ensure that any person that is new to the streets is contacted within 24 hrs and offered support and assistance, including access to emergency .

Comments on the draft strategy are invited up to 15 March 2013, which can be viewed at www.eastriding.gov.uk/say Following the consultation period; the strategy will be taken to Cabinet for approval.

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solar

Owner occupiers or privately renting tenants living in the of Yorkshire could benefit from £200 towards improving the in their home.

Council has acquired funding, for a limited period, to assist with the cost of installing insulation for residents falling within the ‘Affordable Warmth’ criteria.

These are that applicants should be aged over 70, in receipt of certain benefits or suffering from a long term health condition (such as asthma, diabetes, heart condition or disabilities).

Insulation company Solarwall are working in conjunction with the Council so customers wanting to find out if they qualify should contact Solarwall on (0800) 138 0079 or (01904) 690824 or email Solarwall at enquiries@solarwall.co.uk to secure their funding.

The offer is limited and only available until 31 March 2013 so customers are encouraged to apply early to ensure any potential discount

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Linden-HU17

Downsizing is now a major reason for moving house CASH-SAVVY home hunters are choosing to downsize earlier than expected to help with household bills and raise windfall money.

According to a new report, age is becoming less relevant as one in five people are downsizing in their earlier years. The study by reveals 59 per cent of people want to move to a smaller property better suited to their circumstances.

A third would be looking to reduce their bills and one in three wanted to downsize to support their retirementplans. Developer currently has a range of new homes that fit perfectly into the ‘downsizing’ bracket across its locations across , , York, Leeds and North East Lincolnshire.

Linden Homes sales director Steve Woomble said: “Our extensive portfolio of new homes in carefully selected locations offer some fantastic opportunities for people looking to downsize. “These can range from our wonderful coach houses, with very low maintenance outdoor spaces, to three and even four beds that tick all the boxes whilst still offering enough space for the family to visit.” And for those with an existing property to sell, there is the popular part exchange scheme.

Linden Homes will obtain two independent valuations on your existing property from local agents on your behalf. Providing you and your existing property meet certain criteria, Linden Homes will then make you an offer for your existing property, based on the valuation reports by the local estate agents, leaving you free to reserve your new dream home.

Meanwhile, the -backed New Buy scheme is also available to new and existing homeowners. Just a five per cent will secure an apartment or home up to £500,000 – with Linden Homes working in partnership with major High Street lenders to secure a 95 per cent fixed rate .

Other findings of the Lloyds TSB survey include:

- A fifth of those considering downsizing are looking to trade down earlier than expected, with financial concerns as the main reason.

- Almost half of homeowners living in their second home are considering downsizing.

- Some 63 per cent of potential downsizers are aged over 55, and more than a quarter between 46-55. Over five per cent are aged between 36-45.

- 36 per cent of people who make aprofit when they sell their home plan to invest that money into a new property.

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More than 35 households in the most at risk to coastal erosion have benefited from funding secured by the council to help them adapt to the impact of coastal change.

In December 2009, the council was awarded £1.2 million by Defra (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to undertake a Coastal Change Pathfinder project. The funding was not intended as a ‘compensation’ scheme but rather to provide practical support and guidance to those most at risk.

The funding has now been allocated in full to households in or near Aldbrough, Cowden, , Skipsea, Tunstall and Ulrome.

Support has been used to help with the cost of property demolitions and site restorations, which previously fell in full to the residents. In addition, financial support has been provided to cover practical relocation costs and for establishing residents in their new homes in safe locations. People have also received money towards removals and the purchase of essential white goods and furnishings for their new properties. The support offered to each resident has been based on an assessment of individual circumstances and the criteria set by the Council.

There is also a small grants fund to enable individuals, groups and businesses in the East Riding to develop unique approaches to coastal erosion and coastal flood risk management.

Councillor Jane Evison, portfolioholder for rural issues and cultural services, said: “The council cannot turn back the forces of nature but what we have for the first time been able to do through Coastal Pathfinder is to provide real practical support and assistance to people most at risk to coastal erosion .

“As the project comes to an end in March, I want to stress that we will not be resting on our laurels but will continue to lobby hard for additional funding, recognising the strong case for supporting people living on undefended East Riding coastline that does not meet the criteria for sea defences and highlighting how much can be achieved with relatively small amounts of money.”

A feedback report on Coastal Pathfinder was presented to the council’s cabinet on 31 January 2012 and is available on the council’s website.

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Jan 262012
 
Beverley Property Guide

On Tuesday 17th Jan 2012, Mark Adams from was prosecuted by of Yorkshire Council and was found guilty by Magistrates Court of three breaches of the Building Regulations relating to electrical work. He was fined a total of £1000 and ordered to pay £600 costs.

During a routine inspection by an East Riding building control officer, it was discovered that the work carried out by Adams was dangerous and required immediate action to make it safe for the occupant of the domestic property in Willerby.

Mr Adams, trading as A+M Electrical, was found guilty of failing to comply with the Building Regulations by not providing an earth to the electrical system which made it unsafe and failing to notify the Authority of the commencement and completion of the work.

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Following an extensive investigation into the flooding which took place in on 3 August 2011, of Yorkshire Council has made a number of recommendations to mitigate future rainfall events in the town.

As the lead local flood authority (LLFA), the council used powers under the Flood & Water Management Act 2010 to investigate the circumstances of the flooding, which included data gathering from numerous agencies, interviewing residents and relevant staff to establish a timeline, inspection of facilities in the area and analysis of the information received.

From the available data, the council concluded that in excess of 32mm and probably in excess of 64mm of rain fell between 4.30-5.30pm on 3 August. Even the lower estimate is in excess of the design standards applied to drainage systems and therefore it is likely that even if the drainage system was ‘as new’ and operated to full capacity, there would’ve been significant areas of flooding.

Nigel Leighton, director of environment and neighbourhood services at Council, said: “The rainfall that caused the August flooding was without doubt very exceptional.

“As a result of the resident survey, the council has become aware of areas where, even during significantly less intense storms, localised flooding occurs on a regular basis. While these in the normal course of events do not affect properties internally, they are an inconvenience to some residents and the council will investigate these and ensure appropriate remedial action is taken by the relevant body concerned.

“The town of Goole is situated on the edge of the Humberhead Level flood plain in an identified flood zone and is bordered by three major rivers, The Ouse to the east, The Aire to the north and The Don to the south.

“Given the complexity of the Goole sewer system, the degree of interaction between systems and the limited and unverified rainfall data available, it is not possible to definitively state a single cause of the flooding.

“The investigation has recommended a series of proposed actions for the consideration of a number of agencies and for approval by cabinet, including an overhaul of communication and incident response procedures, remedial and improvement works and further investigations with other flood risk management agencies in order to mitigate and reduce the affects of future incidents in the area.

“The council would like to thank members of the Goole community, Yorkshire Water Services Limited, The Environment Agency and the Goole and Airmyn Internal Drainage Board for their assistance in this investigation.”

Councillor Chris Matthews, cabinet portfolio holder for highways and emergency planning at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, who also represents the authority on the Yorkshire Regional Flood Defence Committee, said: “As a result of the changes in legislation, this is the first time the council has had the authority to investigate and make recommendations to other flood risk management agencies about mitigating flooding in specific localities.

“The council takes flood prevention very seriously and, where necessary, will use these powers again in the future to help tackle flooding in the East Riding.”

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Bridlington-Business-Centre

Business Centre, run by Council, is offering a range of office units, workshops and advice from qualified business advisers for start-up and existing businesses.

The centre, which is situated in Bessingby Industrial Estate, offers lets on easy-in, easy-out terms as well as administrative support, business support, shared managed resources, such as reception, kitchens, toilets, accessible loading bay and modern conference facilities, available for tenants and non-tenants. The site has ample on-site car and is DDA compliant.

Over the past 10 years the centre has offered business advice and support to over 2000 clients in the local area and 240 clients in the last year.

Since opening in 1998, the business centre has assisted 28 new business start-ups to take office space and provided further office accommodation for 44 established businesses. The business centre initiative in Bridlington has aided the creation of 53 new jobs and allowed the safeguard of another 82. The centre has also overseen the expansion of 41 businesses who have secured larger self-contained premises in the local area.

The result of a business premises study in 2006 identified the need for units ranging from 800–1500sqft and of Yorkshire Council subsequently developed the Enterprise Units, adjacent to the business centre, to bridge a much needed gap in the area. These facilities have seen three new business start-ups take space and accommodated six established local businesses, which in turn has created 21 new jobs and safeguarded a further 41.

Councillor Andy Burton, cabinet portfolio holder for economic development and regeneration, said: “East Riding of Yorkshire Council is determined to support businesses across the East Riding and help grow the local economy.

“The council’s business centres are providing start-up and existing businesses with affordable premises as well as support and guidance to help them through these uncertain economic times and allow them to flourish in the future.”

The venue also has a conference room, for up to 18 delegates, for hire at a cost of £100 per day, £60 for a half day or £18 per hour. A smaller meeting room which can accommodate up to six people is also available.
For further information, contact Bridlington Business Centre on (01262) 401399

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