Over 250 homes in East Cambridgeshire have been empty for longer than six months despite pressure to build more homes and rising homelessness nationwide, according to new research by the Liberal Democrats.
The data was collected through freedom of information requests sent to councils across the country, which showed 60,000 properties had been empty for two years or more, 23,000 for five years or more, and nearly 11,000 have stood empty for at least 10 years.
East Cambridgeshire District Council reported that 251 homes in the district were vacant for more than six months. 85 of these were empty for two years or more, 36 for five years or more, and 16 for more than ten years.
At a time when we are seeing increasing homelessness and major pressure on greenfield sites across the country, it is scandalous that homes are allowed to sit empty for such significant lengths of time. They could be turned into affordable places to live and the government needs to give councils the resources they need to get them back into use.
The Lib Dem research also showed that just one in 13 councils are making use of empty dwelling management orders (EDMO) – the powers that can be used by local authorities to take over properties that have been empty for at least six months. East Cambridgeshire was not able to say if it had issued any such orders in the last five years.