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Shock empty homes figures ‘destroys’ case for Seven Cornfield development say Lib Dems

October 13, 2019 2:18 PM
By Nick Machnik-Foster

Shock empty homes figures 'destroys' case for Seven Cornfield development say Lib Dems

  • The party have urged the councils to bring these properties back into use rather than 'destroying the green belt'.

Wolverhampton Liberal Democrats as part of their campaign against the 1300 home development on the Severn Cornfields have uncovered figures that show that 2,431 empty homes in the three council areas bordering the site. The party believe this has 'destroyed' the case for the development.

Government figures show that South Staffordshire has 345 empty properties, Dudley has 1038 and Wolverhampton has 1048. The party have said this destroys the case for the development as we have enough housing stock in the city already.

These properties are already in the heart of communities and won't require extra services or will stretch our roads, schools and GP practices to breaking point.

This shocking news after 6,300 people have signed a petition created by Liberal Democrat campaigner Nick Machnik-Foster against the plans. Campaigners have revealed that they plan to try and garner 15,000 names to the petition with 5,000 signatures each in Wolverhampton, Dudley and South Staffordshire. This would help trigger debates or council responses to the campaigners demands in each of the three affected authorities.

From April, 2020, the party is proposing that any property empty for between five and 10 years will be charged triple their usual council tax.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat campaigner Nick Machnik-Foster said:

"It angers me we are having to fight tooth and nail to oppose these plans all the while we have double to number proposed already built and just lying empty. These figures utterly destroy the case for this development. These figures are another nail in the coffin for the development; we've shown that the shortfall could be made up from houses already built.

"I have always said the Liberal Democrats will strain every sinew to fight these plans and twe are putting politics aside to fight for our much loved green spaces.

"I believe it is time the councils stopped talking about bringing empty homes back into use and actually did it. I've read more press releases from the council than seen actual homes they've brought back into use.

"When there are so many young families in need of their first home and so many homeless people on the streets of Wolverhampton who need a roof over their heads, the Labour council need to do much more to bring these homes back into use."

Ends

Notes to editors - The figures can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-dwelling-stock-including-vacants. The relevant table is 615. Table 615: vacant dwellings by local authority district: England, from 2004

The petition opposing the development was created by Nick Machnik-Foster and it can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/south-staffordshire-district-council-save-the-seven-cornfields