BLACKBURN with Darwen Council has started the process of buying an empty home subject to anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping in the yard.

Its growth boss Cllr Phil Riley has authorised the start of talks with the owner to buy the house.

He hopes to purchase the property at 3 to 5 Whitehall Street, Darwen, by agreement.

His report authorising the move says: “The property is situated in the Darwen South ward and is the only residential property on the small street accessed directly off the A666.

“It is a pre-1919 dwelling built of stone with a pitched slate roof in an area of similarly built homes.

“Whitehall Street also leads to a group of industrial units.

“A recent inspection of the property, it was found that it currently comprises of two three- bedroomed flats which have stood empty for over 20 years.

“Continuous water ingress through a hole in the roof has rotted the first-floor floorboards.

“The property has been the subject of recent complaints from local residents and ward councillors in relation to anti-social behaviour by youths congregating at the property; fly-tipping in the yard and the general condition of the building and the fact it continues to remain empty.

“As the property was not marketed for sale and the owners had no intentions of refurbishing the property they were made aware of the council’s potential compulsory purchase order action that may be considered and in January 2021 they contacted the council to offer the property for sale by agreement. It has been inspected, a valuation survey has been carried out and negotiations are currently under way.

“There are currently around 2,818 empty properties in the borough. 391 of those homes have stood empty for over two years. 764 empty properties were brought back into use in 2019-20. However, as quickly as properties are removed from the empty property list, others are added to it.”