Council bosses buy Sunderland house after complaints over fly-tipping, waste and vandalism

A derelict home which started to blight its neighbourhood has been purchased by council bosses as part of a scheme to transform empty properties.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 7:00 am

The house in Wordsworth Avenue East, Houghton, was subject to a number of complaints from local residents after it became a magnet for fly-tipping, waste and vandalism.

Sunderland City Council has now bought the property as part of its £59m five-year housing delivery and investment plan after a series of negotiations with the owner over its condition.

As well as transforming more than 360 empty properties into family homes over the next five years, the council will be delivering 117 new-build bungalows and creating 95 homes as supported housing through through new builds, conversions and refurbishments.

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The empty property bought by Sunderland City Council.

Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, cabinet member for dynamic city, added: “There are a range of reasons why properties can become unoccupied and, as an authority, we will do all we can to support property owners to bring them back into use as quickly as possible and indeed, as in this case, sometimes buy empty homes and commit to bring them back into use.

“Sunderland is a great place to live, and there is plenty of demand, so there is no reason why properties should remain empty.”

The Wordsworth Avenue East issues were flagged up by housing provider Gentoo after neighbourhood issues.

Gentoo chief executive Nigel Wilson said: “We’d received calls from a number of our residents, who were concerned about this empty property, and thanks to the strong partnership we share with the council, we’re really pleased we have been able to get this issue resolved and hopefully this will now deliver a lovely new home for a family to enjoy.”

A council spokesperson added: “While we’re unable to give an exact fee paid at the current moment in time, every property we purchase has an independent market valuation which enables us to ensure every acquisition we make is for a fair price.

“The cost of the property, any works costs and fees are fully evaluated to ensure that the investment the council makes delivers a healthy return on that investment within a set timeframe.”

With this week marking Empty Homes Week, the council will be providing some practical guidance on its social media channels to assist empty property owners.

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