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4,000 properties in Norfolk have sat empty six months or more

4,000 properties in Norfolk have sat empty six months or more

Published by Grace Mcgachy
12:28pm 24th December 2019.

Almost 4,000 properties in Norfolk have sat empty for more than six months in the past year, figures have revealed.

Homes are classed as long-term empty once the property has been vacant for more than six months.

And figures for 2019, published by the Department for Housing in October, show that in more than half of Norfolk’s council areas the number of long-term empty properties has risen.

person holding house keys

Four out of seven councils have seen a rise, with Broadland Council recording the biggest increase, with 124 more properties crossing the six-month threshold – and 100 properties empty for longer than two years.

A council spokesperson said owners were reminded of their responsibilities towards their properties, and any costs were recouped by the council.

While Breckland and North Norfolk had 127 and 140 properties respectively which had been empty for more than two years, with 72 in north Norfolk empty for longer than five.

Spokespersons for both councils said they “regularly [and] actively” review empty properties.

However, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council, despite having the highest overall number of long-term empty properties, also saw the biggest decrease of any Norfolk council, with the number of empty properties falling from 1,013 to 825, but the council did not give a figure for the number which had been empty for longer than two years.

A council spokesperson said:

“A significant factor in the figures is attributable to two housing schemes owned by Freebridge Community Housing.

It is understood the two completely empty housing schemes (Harpley and Plaxtole House) are planned to be demolished soon.

Officers continue to look for opportunities where long-term empty properties can be acquired where appropriate.

We have taken a proactive stance to address the issue of empty homes in west Norfolk.

Since we were given powers to reduce discounts in 2013, we have done so.

This is to encourage owners to bring these properties back into use.

We also have a long-term empty homes strategy.”

Family share four-year ‘struggle’ to find home

A Norfolk father has told of his family’s “struggle” to find a home – after searching for one since before the birth of his four-year-old daughter.

Chris Balding, from north Norfolk, said:

“We’re currently living with my wife, my daughter, my wife’s mother, step-father and grandmother in a three-bedroom house.”
My daughter’s four and still sleeps in the same room as us.

We’re definitely struggling.”

And Mr Balding, who is currently on a career break, said:

“There are so many properties on AirBnB or used as holiday cottages.

The deposit requirement means its incredibly hard to save – especially if you’re renting somewhere.”

He added that there were some suitable properties nearby, but said:

“It’s little two-bedroom houses that would be absolutely perfect for us but are in the holiday cottage market, and not for sale.

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