Empty homes on the rise in Welwyn Hatfield and Hertsmere

PUBLISHED: 06:57 07 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:21 07 April 2020

Overgrown house at Branch Close in Hatfield.


 Picture: Karyn Haddon

Overgrown house at Branch Close in Hatfield. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Archant

Welwyn Hatfield and Hertsmere have both seen a rise in empty homes according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The number of vacant properties in Welwyn Hatfield rose by 12.6 per cent in the last two years, with 253 in 2018 and 285 in 2019.

Similarly, Hertsmere had 503 empty homes in 2018 and 528 in 2019, a rise of five per cent.

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To address the need, councillor Jean Heywood, portfolio holder for housing, at Hertsmere has come up with the Empty Homes Strategy and Action Plan.

While Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council – which has only 0.04 per cent of its own housing empty – has said it has the power in exceptional circumstances to force homes into use when there is an extreme case of disrepair or it is a hub of anti-social activity.

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WHBC added: “To help alleviate the borough’s housing shortage, it’s important to us that properties are put to good use, however, the handful of homes in the borough that are empty wouldn’t justify local authority enforcement action under current legislation.”


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