More than 1,400 homes sitting empty in Bexley
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:11 13 June 2018
More than 1,400 homes in Bexley are sitting empty, despite a national housing crisis which has left thousands of families homeless.
And newly released figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that hundreds of properties have been left unoccupied for at least six months.
In October last year, when the most recent count was taken, there were 1,469 vacant homes in Bexley. Of those, 475 were classed as long-term vacancies, meaning that they had been unoccupied for at least six months.
The problem of empty homes in Bexley has improved in recent years. In 2008, when the number of vacant properties peaked nationwide, there were 2,123 in the area.
Across England, there were more than 600,000 vacant properties last October, over a third of which were long-term vacancies.
Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: “In the midst of a homelessness crisis it is of course frustrating to see houses left empty. But the fact is that even if we filled every one of these, there still wouldn’t be nearly enough homes to solve the problem.
“Decades of failure to build has left us in the lurch - the Government must now get on and build a new generation of social homes where people need them most.”
Figures show that 796 new homes were built in Bexley last year. In total, 777 new homes were created, including those converted from office blocks or houses split into flats.
A spokeswoman from Bexley Council said: “We are proactive in bringing empty properties back into use, actively encouraging owners to get in contact and help us maximise the stock available for housing in our borough.
“There are 558 properties in Bexley that have been empty for at least six months, recorded as long-term empty.
“Other recorded empty properties could be undergoing renovation or sale, so are empty for a short period only. Some are exempt, for example in cases where the homeowner has passed away, is in prison or is moving into long term care.
“If you have an empty property and are interested in bringing it back into use please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”