Huppert congratulates city and quizzes government on empty homes
January 31, 2012
MP Julian Huppert has quizzed the government on how Cambridge can access its £150 million empty homes fund to bring disused houses back into use.
He raised the question with Communities and Local Government Minister, Andrew Stunnell as work continues by Cambridge City Council to make empty homes available to families on its waiting list.
And he praised City Council Leader, Sian Reid and her Deputy Catherine Smart, who has responsibility for housing, in their work on empty homes.
Julian asked Mr Stunnell: “Will he join me in congratulating Sian Reid and Catherine Smart from Cambridge City Council for their work in reducing the number of empty homes in Cambridge since 2004?
He went on: “The government’s £150 million Empty Homes Fund is welcome but how can Cambridge City Council access this in order to bring even more empty homes back into use?”
Mr Stunnell told him: “For the £100 million announced for providing affordable homes, local authority bids will be invited shortly and I hope Cambridge will be right there.
“For the £50 million for empty homes to tackle the worst concentration of empty homes, we are currently drawing up the criteria. I know that a number of community and voluntary groups in the East of England have their eyes on Cambridge as well.”
Later Julian said: “Cambridge City Council has done some excellent work in bringing empty homes back into use for families who need a permanent place to live.
“I am delighted the government is making money available for this purpose; it shows its true commitment to this problem. I would urge anyone who knows of a property which has been empty for a while to get in touch with the city council so that action can be taken to make it a home again.”
Figures released by the Empty Homes Agency show that there were 1,172 empty homes in the Cambridge in 2010 and 364 of these were long term vacant. The figure has fallen, however, from 1,428 in 2004.
Cambridge City Council has over 7,000 people on its waiting list for homes and works with private landlords to try to make empty homes available.
Julian is supporting a campaign launched through the website www.reportemptyhomes.com which encourages people to report empty houses across the country.