Freedom of Information Request - Long Term Empty Properties

The request was successful.

Dear Bedford Borough Council,

I am writing to you to request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act:

1) Can the council confirm their current number of Long Term Empty Properties as of the 8th May (those domestic properties which have been empty for six months or older)
2) What work is the council currently undertaking or planning to undertake around reducing their long term empty properties in 2019?
3) During 2018 did you undertake any work around reducing your Long Term Empty Properties. If you did was this done using internal resource or a third party?
4) If yes is the answer to question three, did the council review every single long term property
5) Does the reduction of empty homes in the council area form part of your Housing strategy?
6) Does the council have a budget in place to help support the reduction of empty properties?
7) How much did the council spend on temporary accommodation during 2018?
8) Does the council offer financial support /loans to Long Term Empty property owners to help them bring properties back into use?

Yours faithfully,

Alex Arthur

Freedom of Information, Bedford Borough Council

Thank you for your e-mail requesting information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

We will proceed with the request which we received today. It is our
intention to have the information delivered to you as soon as possible
otherwise within the statutory 20 working days.

 

In consideration of the request, which may be subject to any exemptions/
exceptions the Council may rely on to refuse the request, some of which
are absolute and some of which only apply where the public interest in
maintaining the exemption/exception outweighs that in disclosing the
information.

 

 

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associated costs.  Further information is available on the EIR page of
Bedford Borough Council’s website at the following link:

 

[1]http://www.bedford.gov.uk/council_and_de...

  

 

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References

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1. http://www.bedford.gov.uk/council_and_de...
2. http://www.bedford.gov.uk/council_and_de...
3. mailto:[Bedford Borough Council request email]

Freedom of Information, Bedford Borough Council

Bedford BC - OFFICIAL-Unsecure

 

Dear Alex Arthur

 

Request pursuant to Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Request No. 14107

 

I refer to your recent enquiry for information held by the Council under
the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 concerning long term
empty properties. Under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act,
the authority must state whether or not the information exists and I can
confirm that we do hold the information you requested which has been
answered below. 

 

Please find your request and our response below: 

 

 

1.    Can the Council confirm their current number of Long Term Empty
Properties as of the 8th May (those domestic properties which have been
empty for six months or older)
738

 

2.    What work is the council currently undertaking or planning to
undertake around reducing their long term empty properties in 2019?
Bedford Borough Councils approach to dealing with empty homes is set out
in Section 8 of the Empty Homes Strategy 2019 – 2024. A link to the text
of the Strategy is copied below.
[1]https://www.bedford.gov.uk/housing/housi...
(From here please click on ‘view the text of the documents as approved by
the Executive’ under ‘Strategies Announcement’.)

 

3.    During 2018 did you undertake any work around reducing your Long
Term Empty Properties. If you did was this done using internal resource or
a third party?
In 2018, the Council undertook work to reduce the number of empty homes in
accordance with Section 3 of the Empty Homes Strategy 2013 – 2019. (A link
to this strategy is copied below.) Most work was undertaken through the
use of internal resources although a specialist external solicitor was
used in respect of legal actions undertaken.
[2]https://bbcdevwebfiles.blob.core.windows...
(Please note there is an older front cover currently showing on the
version on the website. This is in the process of being amended as the
Strategy was extended until the end of March 2019.)

 

4.    If yes is the answer to question three, did the council review every
single long term property?
The Council contacts parties recorded as liable for empty homes once the
property is unoccupied for over 12 months. Contact is not made where it is
recorded the liable party is in a care home or has moved to provide care.

 

5.    Does the reduction of empty homes in the council area form part of
your Housing strategy?
‘Options to Increase Delivery: Empty Homes’ forms Chapter 16 of the
Councils Housing Strategy Review 2016 – 2020. A link to the Housing
Strategy Review is copied below.
[3]https://bbcdevwebfiles.blob.core.windows...

The Council also has a specific Empty Homes Strategy for the period 2019 –
2014.  I have included a link to the text of the strategy below.
[4]https://www.bedford.gov.uk/housing/housi...
(From here please click on ‘view the text of the documents as approved by
the Executive’ under ‘Strategies Announcement’.)

 

6.    Does the council have a budget in place to help support the
reduction of empty properties?
In June 2014 the Council’s Executive approved a Capital Budget of
£2,849,000 to facilitate the acquisition of long term empty properties
where owners are not acting to bring them back in to use.

 

7.    How much did the council spend on temporary accommodation during
2018?
The Council’s net expenditure on temporary accommodation in 2018/19 was
£861,500.

 

8.    Does the council offer financial support /loans to Long Term Empty
property owners to help them bring properties back into use?
No.

 

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it for your
own purposes, including any non-commercial research you are doing and for
the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for example commercial
publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder. For
further information regarding Re-use of Public Sector information please
see link below.  If for whatever reason you are unhappy with our response
to your application you are entitled to pursue any dissatisfaction through
the Council's Internal Review Procedure.  Pursuant to Section 17 (7) of
the Act the procedure provided by the Council for dealing with complaints
about the determination of this request for information is the Council’s
FOI Complaints Procedure, a copy of which can be obtained on request or is
set out at:

[5]http://www.bedford.gov.uk/council_and_de...

 

Yours sincerely

Kavita Leal

Records Support Officer

Bedford Borough Council

Borough Hall

Please reply to:  [6][email address]

 

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