A BOROUGH is to start legal proceedings to buy up 15 empty properties.

Burnley Council's executive has authorised officers to start legal proceedings to make Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) for what it descried as 'long term vacant properties in the private sector'

It approved the move despite the owner of one of them, Chris McCormick, asking the senior councillors to drop his house from the list.

The CPOs will be sought for Gorple Cottages in Wallhurst Close Worsthorne; numbers 143, 200 and 206 Cog Lane; 56 Dall Street; 27 Waterbarn Street; 23 and 29 Elmwood Street; 38 Woodbine Road; 1 Berry Street; 32 Parkinson Street; 79 Tarleton Street; 1 Wren Street; 51 Herbert Street; and 32 Pritchard Street.

When in council ownership they will be renovated, sold or handed over to the borough's main social housing provider Calico Homes as appropriate.

Mr McCormick told the online executive meeting: "I have been trying to resolve the problem with my property which has been empty for a long time.

"At this present time we would prefer to work on it and spend funds rather than go through a long CPO process."

His request was rejected.

Paul Gatrell, Burnley Council's head of housing and development, said: "Compulsory purchase of a property is a last resort.

"We will work with property owners to help them get their property back into use provided that is within a reasonable timeframe.

"Bringing empty properties back into use is a key priority for the council because long-term empties can blight our local neighbourhoods."