Uttlesford: Council brings empty property back into use following compulsory order

AN empty property will soon be brought back into use by Uttlesford District Council.

The council recently used its powers to purchase number 50 South Road in Saffron Walden compulsorily. The property is a large three-bedroom semi-detached house with a single storey back addition and an enclosed garden, in a desirable residential location.

Ann Lee-Moore, principal environmental health officer, said: “As all other methods had failed, we decided it was in the public interest to purchase the property compulsorily, which was completed last month.

“The owner has been given four weeks to clear the house of the considerable amount of belongings and rubbish, failing which it will be cleared by the council and then placed on the open market. The aim is to market it as a renovation opportunity.

“The property has been unoccupied since it was damaged by fire in 2001, the fire not having inflicted serious structural damage.

“Although financial assistance has been offered to the owner with the aim of bringing the property back into occupation, the council had received no response. With the length of time it has been vacant, it has become overgrown and fallen into disrepair, and is having a negative effect on the neighbourhood.”

There are economic advantages in bringing a property back into use, such as revenue from rent and reduced insurance premiums. Maintenance and repair costs can be reduced and there can be a reduction in VAT costs if an empty property is renovated for occupation.

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Mrs Lee-Moore added: “If anyone has an empty property they wish to see brought back into use, they should contact Environmental Health on 01799 510482 for further information. They may even qualify for a grant or a loan towards getting the work done.”