The Making Homes from Houses scheme is a collaboration between Preston City Council, Homes England and partners, Community Gateway Association. It turns long term empty dwellings into homes, transforming them through renovation and refurbishment.
So far, thirty properties in Preston have already been refurbished and returned to family homes as part of the project, having been empty for a total of 112 years. Twenty more empty dwellings are currently being renovated or in the process of legal completion, in readiness to receive the same attention.
Councillor David Borrow, Cabinet member for planning and regulation, at Preston City Council, said,
“I’m delighted this priority project is receiving the recognition it deserves, following its success in Preston in the last few years. I’d like to send my thanks to the officers involved for their hard work and dedication to the scheme, alongside those at our partner agencies.
“Empty properties can have a negative impact on communities. By bringing empty homes back into use, an area’s appearance can be greatly improved and boost people’s confidence in their neighbourhood.”
Councillor Jennifer Mein, Cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Preston City Council, added,
“This is a brilliant and innovative scheme. There is currently a shortage of satisfactory affordable housing across the country, not just Preston. Your empty property could be a new home for a person in housing need, a young family looking for their first home or an older person looking to downsize.
“Re-using your empty property could also save you money. Keeping a property empty can cost almost £8,000 a year. If there’s an empty property near you, get in touch with the council to see what can be done.”
Stephen Galbraith, Development Manager at Community Gateway Association, said,
“Through this partnership we have been able to refurbish homes that have been left empty into much-needed affordable homes for those with the greatest housing need. By bringing these run-down homes up to scratch, not only are we improving the appearance of our neighbourhoods, but we are also helping to combat anti-social behaviour.
“We look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with Preston City Council to deliver many more homes.”
So far, £820,000 has been invested by the Council, using S106 developer contributions, with a total of £3.9m being spent to deliver the thirty affordable rented homes.
Some of the properties have even had stairlifts installed, helping those with mobility needs.
Council committed funds are now at £1.6m, which is expected to result in a total of £9.3m of investment and an estimated 52 new affordable rented homes altogether. Once refurbished, these properties are made available to people in housing need who are either homeless or on the housing waiting list and eligible for such properties.