ANOTHER empty home has been brought back into use as Blackburn with Darwen council’s campaign to buy and renovate long-term vacant properties gathers pace.
The borough is using compulsory purchase powers to acquire deteriorating houses and auction them on condition of the purchaser renovating them to a good standard.
The latest transfer to be completed sees a terrace house in Infirmary Street, vacant for over four years, sold to landlord Suhail Ahmed who is now letting the property to a tenant.
Before seeking the CPO, the council had received numerous complaints from residents about the property’s state of repair and its effect on the area as a whole.
With 680 long-term empty properties in the borough vacant for at least two years, the council uses various methods to bring them back into use, with compulsory purchase a last resort.
In recent months it has used the procedure to buy seven properties and last year completed the first full transfer of a terrace house on Audley Range to purchaser Wasim Bari who entered into a building licence agreement.
After the refurbishment work had been completed and inspected, the sale was confirmed and a delighted Mr Bari moved his family into the house, previously empty for seven years.
Five other properties have sales agreed with renovation under way and the borough is currently going ahead with three other Compulsory Purchase Orders for empty properties.
The infirmary Street property was bought and then advertised for sale by an estate agents.
Mr Ahmed entered into a contract to renovate the property within six months and arranged for it to be occupied as soon as possible.
Borough housing boss Arshid Mahmood said: “Yet again another property acquired by CPO by the council and sold to the highest bidder has been improved to a very high standard. The council is committed to bringing empty properties back into use to improve neighbourhoods and ease the burden on accommodation waiting lists”.