A partnership between a Burnley-based social housing landlord and a building contractor is bringing the town’s empty homes back to life.
Calico Homes and Ring Stones have bought and restored 11 formerly derelict properties in Burnley, with plans to do more by the end of March 2015.
Each of the buildings has received extensive internal works including damping proofing and insulation to bring them up to Decent Homes’ standards. They have also been fitted with energy efficiency measures that should create more comfortable living conditions and reduce tenants’ utility bills.
Seven of the houses are located on Cog Lane, Burnley. The street had previously suffered from a high number of voids and had started to attract anti-social behaviour and vandalism.
As well as reducing the number of empty homes, the project is creating new jobs and training opportunities in Burnley. Ring Stones directly employs its workforce, with 85 per cent of its staff living in the area.
Painting and decorating is also being carried out by Calico Enterprise, a charitable organisation designed to tackle joblessness and help local people develop new skills.
The restorations were delivered under the Homes & Communities’ Agency’s, ‘Empty Homes’ initiative, which is a Government-backed programme aimed at reducing the number of long-term empty homes and bring thousands of properties back into use.
Mark Cutler, managing director of Ring Stones, said: “It’s a sad irony that while the UK comes under enormous pressure to meet an acute housing shortage, more than 700,000 homes are standing unoccupied.
“Bringing these houses back into use can often be much more cost-effective than starting from scratch, while having positive benefits on the whole community by delivering projects using locally-based people, supply chains and charitable organisations.
“We’re now looking to work with other organisations like Calico to help with their empty homes stock across the wider region.”
Anthony Duerden, chief executive, Calico Homes, added: “For years, these homes have sat unoccupied and neglected by their previous owners. Not only were they an eyesore, they’ve had a detrimental impact on the local community, the local environment and have even caused damage to neighbouring properties.
“Our work with Ring Stones is not only seeing the homes themselves renovated, but the wider community is benefiting from transformed neighbourhoods – ones they can be proud to live in.”