THREE empty homes should be demolished in Burnley to safeguard the rest of a terrace street, senior councillors have been told.

Council housing bosses say they have made every effort to try to encourage the owners of 34 to 38 Athol Street North properties to redevelop their interests.

But now with the homes facing ‘serious structural’ problems, the authority wants to buy up the houses and pull three down – to secure the long-term future of the remaining seven houses.

Housing officials have drawn up proposals which would see £143,000 invested in the Trinity ward street, where private landlords are already launching renovation projects.

Engineers would undertake ‘tying’ works, to strengthen the front, rear and cavity walls of 20 to 32 Athol Street North, and paint the doors, windows and frontages of the homes, and a new gable end.

Housing manager Clare Jackson said in an executive report: “Officers have considered the acquisition and renovation of 34 to 38 Athol Street North, however due to the serious disrepair and significant structural problems it would not be cost effective.”

Two of three houses have been empty since April 2001 and June 2002, with the third only becoming vacant last January.

Each would be made the subject of compulsory purchase orders, ahead of their demolition.

Several surrounding streets were given a facelift under the former housing market renewal programme but the block – between Howard Street and Colin Street – was not covered.

Work has already taken place to overhaul one 26 Athol Street North and loans provided under the borough’s empty homes initiatives is being used to improve 22 and 24 along the row.

Councillors sitting on the borough’s executive are being asked to rubber-stamp the plans when they meet at the town hall next Tuesday.