Council commits to tackling ‘complex’ issue of second homes and empty homes
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
Caerphilly County Borough Council has committed to tackling the “complex” issue of second homes and empty homes.
More than 1,200 homes in the borough are empty, some of which have been vacant for more than five or ten years.
Plaid Cymru councillor John Roberts, who represents the Aber Valley ward, said these houses “are often left to rot, sometimes causing huge problems for neighbours and communities”.
Cllr Roberts added: “With nearly 5,000 people on the council housing waiting list, strong action is needed.”
On Wednesday, January 26 a motion was passed by the council to look at options to reduce the amount of empty homes in the borough.
Cllr Roberts, who put forward the motion, has suggested doubling council tax on second homes and long-term empty homes – putting the money raised back into projects for all wards.
Financial penalties are stated in the motion as one of the council’s options to tackle the issue.
At the meeting, the council’s deputy leader, Cllr Jamie Pritchard, welcomed the motion, which gained cross-party support.
Cllr Shayne Cook, the council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said the motion’s cross-party support “highlight how cooperation between differing parties can be very beneficial for residents.”
Cllr Cook also said: “Empty properties is a very complex issue and not an easy one to solve, with the cabinet approving the creation of an Empty Property Team in late 2020.
“But, with the pandemic impacting on recruitment and staffing levels the team has only been fully operational since October 2021.”
The Empty Property Team carries out routine work relating to empty properties, in addition to the delivery of the second phase of the Valley Taskforce Welsh Government Empty Homes Grant programme.
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