Formal action launched against Sunderland problem property owner amid calls to bring the dilapidated blight back into occupation

There’s calls to improve a dilapidated property which is proving an eyesore in a row of period homes.

Saturday, 27th February 2021, 7:00 am

Once a Victorian home, the house in Tunstall Terrace has fallen into an extreme state of disrepair with the property proving a blight in the terrace, opposite Park Lane Bus Station.

Residents have raised concerns about the house, and its boarded up doors and windows, with St Michael’s ward councillors pushing the Council to try and acquire the property and bring it back into occupation.

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There's been complaints about the state of an empty property in Tunstall Terrace

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.

Sunderland City Council say they are taking action on the property but Cllr Michael Dixon, who is a St Michael’s ward councillor and speaks on housing for the Group of Conservative Councillors, said: “It seems a long time ago since I first went on a site visit with a council officer to this house on Tunstall Terrace and despite my contacting the council subsequently for updates, sadly the property is now, and has been for some time, in a disgraceful state.

"This dwelling would have been categorised as sub-standard when Queen Victoria was on the throne let alone in 2021 Sunderland.”

He added. “I understand any council has a tough job dealing with absent and neglectful landlords, but the Portfolio Holder, Cllr Atkinson, has on many occasions heralded the council’s policy of bringing back empty properties into occupation.

Cllr Michael Dixon outside the property in Tunstall Terrace.

"So my question is a fair one. Does the council have any plans to use compulsory purchase powers or enforcement orders to acquire this property and if so what is the time-scale as to progress? Clearly the current situation is not remotely acceptable especially to those residents who live in the neighbourhood.”

Cllr Rebecca Atkinson, portfolio holder for Dynamic City, said the owner has been asked to address the issues, or face further action.

She said: “The council’s Empty Homes Team works tirelessly with owners of unoccupied properties to support them practically and financially in order to bring them back into use, particularly where they are a blight on the communities they stand among.

“Despite our will to work in partnership, on occasion property owners do not cooperate, at which point we will not hesitate to take enforcement action. In this particular instance, formal action has already been taken, and we expect prompt action from the owner of the property to resolve the issues we have highlighted. The council will not hesitate to seek a Compulsory Purchase Order where property owners fail to work positively and constructively with us.

Residents have complained to ward councillors about the property's condition.

“Council officers always keep members, including ward councillors, up to date with progress on such issues, so I am sure colleagues, including Cllr Dixon, are aware that the team is doing all it can to resolve this situation in as timely a manner as possible. As Cabinet Member, I will continue to monitor this case closely and work positively with officers at the council to resolve this.”

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The council says they are in contact with the owner of the property
The property is in a Victorian Terrace