FOR 10 years one Gloucester home has sat abandoned in a sorry state.
Now city council enforcement officers are clamping down – they have won permission to force the owner to sell the Reservoir Road house if he does not sort out the mess.
In a report to councillors, Julie Wight, private sector housing service manager, said: “This property has been empty for more than 10 years. Since 2006 the council has received a number of complaints relating to the condition of the house and garden.”
The council carried out work to the property in 2009 and billed the owner for the cost of the work.
Councillor Colin Organ, cabinet member for housing, said: “This is a long term empty property but since the application for a compulsory purchase order was put in the homeowner has put in a planning application to carry out some work at the property. He anticipates that work will start in a few weeks.
“We are keen to bring this house back into use. We will be able to get possession if the owner does not start work.”
Council officers have warned that previous broken promises to undertake renovation work has left them with no choice but to pursue a compulsory purchase order if the latest work is not carried out.
Councillor Saj Patel, cabinet member for the environment, said: “Our robust and targeted approach is clearly working. At a certain point we do have to take action and it is absolutely the right thing to do.”
It comes as new figures show the number of empty homes in the city has fallen from four per cent to three per cent of the total housing stock. Some 25 properties that have been out of use for more than four years have been brought back to life on average each year thanks to city council intervention.
Council leader Paul James added: “This send a clear message to people who have properties like this that we expect them to be brought back into use.
“Long term empty properties are a resource that we can’t afford to waste.”