National Empty Homes Conference: The Great British Property Scandal
Monday November 26 2012, The Building Centre, London
New Ideas and Funding Announced at Inspiring Empty Homes Conference
The 18th National Empty Homes Conference, “Fixing the Great British Property Scandal”, held in London on Monday, has been hailed a resounding success by organisers, who saw over 150 of the housing industry’s key figures gather to discuss issues and solutions to the UK’s empty homes problem.
A day of seminars, speeches and interactive forums was kicked off by a keynote speech by new communities Minister Don Foster who announced new government funding to turn empty commercial property into homes, and followed by an impassioned speech from presenter of the Great British Property Scandal TV series George Clarke who unveiled the recommendations to government of his Empty Homes Task Force
Delegates from across housing industry, including grass roots activists, housing charities, and local authorities discussed how a year of record activity has seen a huge drop in the numbers of empty homes, with new figures announced at the conference showing an annual reduction of over 19,000. The conference also heard innovative new ideas from across the UK and Europe for making further inroads into the still huge numbers of empty homes (710,000) and delivering much needed new homes at a time of record low house building and record high housing need.
“The conference was an inspiring event, showing how resourceful people are turning derelict property into much needed homes in times of adversity ”, commented David Ireland, CEO of charity Empty Homes. “We were delighted that the Minister was able to join us and that he used the conference to announce a new program of changes and funding to help get empty commercial property into residential use.”
“We are incredibly grateful to George Clarke and the Property Scandal campaign for turning the scandal of empty homes into an issue of national importance” he added.
Don Foster announced at the conference that in addition to further funding to get more empty homes into use the government would offer grants to help convert redundant offices into homes. He also condemned the “destructive Pathfinder programme that undermined once vibrant communities. Marooning people in appalling homes surrounded by a sea of derelict streets”
To avoid the mistakes of the pathfinder programme being repeated, George Clarke in his role as Independent Government Empty Homes Advisor announced 12 recommendations to government, including “refurbishing existing homes should always be the preferred option to demolition”, and giving “displaced residents a right to return after regeneration has taken place”.
Empty Homes recommend that government should introduce a “Right to Reclaim Abandoned Property” giving communities the right to claim and use abandoned property.
- Don Foster’s Speech at The National Empty Homes Conference: The Great British Property Scandal
- EmptyHomes’ Proposed Right to Reclaim
- George Clarke’s Empty Homes Task Force Recommendations
- Facebook Photo Album