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Empty to Plenty
Monday 23rd September, 2013

Wigan is one of ten areas set to benefit from an ambitious campaign to bring more empty homes back into use to provide homes for local families.

The launch of Greater Manchester's ‘Empty to Plenty’ campaign is taking place today (Monday 23 September) at the Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester, kicking off a week of events and activities.

The 10 Greater Manchester local councils are working with the Homes and Communities Agency and local housing associations to provide plenty of support for owners to bring their wasted assets back to life.

The launch will include examples of empty homes being brought back in to use through the Oldham Clusters Scheme and the work completed in East Manchester by Manchester City Council and Rowlinsons. As well as a presentation from Aksa Homes about engaging with home owners and Mosscare explaining how the lease and repair scheme is being delivered through ‘Empty to Plenty’.

There are almost 25,000 homes in Greater Manchester that have been empty for more than six months. With huge demand for good quality affordable housing, ‘Empty to Plenty’ gives us an opportunity to work with owners of empty properties to turn them back into homes for local families.

The ‘Empty to Plenty’ campaign will provide owners with advice and support to help them return their property to use. Resources and local contacts are available to home owners at www.agma.gov.uk/latestnews/emptytoplenty

This is backed up with a £30 million investment from Government and local housing associations to help make over 800 homes across Greater Manchester habitable again.

There are a wide range of reasons that people own empty homes. Perhaps it has been inherited, a landlord can’t find tenants for the property, or it started as a renovation project that a home owner can no longer afford to complete.

Empty homes can deteriorate rapidly and become targets for vandalism and crime. Every empty home filled not only provides a much home, but contributes to the regeneration of an area, increases spending in the local economy, and helps to protect the value of the surrounding area.

Cllr Sue Derbyshire, chair of Greater Manchester planning and housing commission, said: “This campaign will benefit neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester.

“We expect the Empty to Plenty initiative to create more than 250 building jobs and more than 200 jobs in supply services.

“It will also further boost the £30 million programme already underway in Greater Manchester to deliver more than 800 new homes over the next two years.”

Eamonn Boylan, lead officer of Greater Manchester planning and housing commission said: “I’d urge everyone with an empty property to find out more about the help and support available through ‘Empty to Plenty’.

“I’m delighted that the 10 Greater Manchester Local Authorities, Housing Associations across Greater Manchester and the Homes and Community Agency will work together to deliver this campaign. Through partnership working we will provide home owners with advice, support and funding to bring their empty homes back to life, turning the strain of an empty property into a profitable asset.”

Lord Peter Smith, leader of Wigan Council and chair of AGMA, said:

“There is a huge demand for affordable housing in Wigan Borough and this scheme will help to alleviate that demand – creating over 800 homes across Greater Manchester with many of those right here in the borough.

“As well as benefiting families looking for a home, the ‘Empty to Plenty’ scheme will also benefit those neighbourhoods where empty homes are proving to be an eyesore.”

Find out more at: www.agma.gov.uk/latestnews/emptytoplenty

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