COUNCIL bosses have begun proceedings to buy up an empty home after complaints about fly-tipping, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

A terraced house at 91 Infirmary Street in Blackburn has stood empty for more than three years and people living nearby raised complaints to Blackburn with Darwen Council.

Now senior figures at the local authority have begun the compulsory purchase order process after borough executive member for growth and development Cllr Phil Riley approved proposals.

A total of 14 complaints had been received by the council.

People told them the area had been infested with rats after fly-tipping and rubbish built up in the back yard of the house.

There were also complaints about people gaining access to the house and anti-social behaviour resulting in smashed windows.

Cllr Riley said: “Substantial efforts have been made by the empty properties team to identify and contact the owner to encourage him to bring the property back into use.

“Despite the owner stating his intention to refurbish the property in February 2018, the property remains in a derelict state.

“The property, which has been empty for three years, is a mid-terraced two-storey house built of red brick, with a blue slate roof.

“The external condition is poor and neglected - the door and windows to the front and rear of the property are boarded over following anti-social behaviour including vandalism and theft.

“The rear yard wall is in a dilapidated state, leaving the yard open to access which has resulted in the yard becoming subject to fly tipping.

“Internally, the property has suffered some water damage resulting in fallen ceilings and the kitchen units have been damaged beyond repair.

“Situated in a long terrace of residential properties; this property is having a detrimental impact on the local neighbourhood.”

There are currently around 2,914 empty properties in the borough, of which 2,087 are classified as empty and unfurnished.

A total of 390 of those homes have stood empty for more than two years and are being charged a premium rate for council tax.

Contact has been made with all owners of long-term empty properties and as a direct result of that intervention, 507 empty properties were brought back into use in 2018/19.

Cllr Riley added: “Continued efforts are required to ensure that properties are empty for a minimum period of time and the council’s message that long-term empty properties will not be tolerated continues to be communicated.