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The Cornish homes empty for over 10 years

The Cornish homes empty for over 10 years

Published by Emma Carton at 9:17am 21st August 2019. (Updated at 10:20am 21st August 2019)

New figures have revealed the worrying number of homes in Cornwall that are standing empty.

A Freedom of Information request shows more than 2,700 are vacant for at least six months.

Higher still is the total of vacant homes that have been empty for over 10 years.

That works out to 25 in every 1,000 and is more than other local authority area across the whole of the UK!

empty homes
New figures have revealed the worrying number of homes in Cornwall that are standing empty long-term

What do the figures show?

Admiral has combined government figures with Freedom of Information requests to British councils, to unveil where the crisis is most severe.

The figures show that more than 278,000 homes in England, Wales and Scotland have sat empty for more than six months.

2742 of those empty homes are in Cornwall, which is the highest number in the south-west.

25.8 in every thousand homes in the Duchy have been empty for over 10 years.

Insurance firm, Admiral, says that in Cornwall, the number of homes empty for 2-4 years are worth a staggering £654 million.

You can check the full figures for Cornwall and the rest of the UK here.

empty homes 3
A Freedom of Information request shows 25 in every 1,000 vacant homes in Cornwall have been empty for over 10 years

What needs to be done to ease the crisis?

Pirate FM has spoken to Andrew George, who has been campaigning for better affordable housing for years.

The former MP for St Ives and the Isles of Scilly is calling for better management of stocks.

"When there's such a shortage of decent homes in Cornwall, it raises very significant questions about the proper management of our stock and why people are very upset with high levels of development which perhaps aren't as needed as some people claim, if we were better at using the stock that's available.

"If were able to properly manage, much more efficiently, the available stock of housing, Cornwall and its countryside wouldn't be under such intense pressure from private developers to accept the very, very high level of housing development".

He also believes that the total number of homes standing empty would be higher, because these figures do not take into account second homes.

"There is a statutory definition of empty homes which doesn't include second homes. A lot of second home owners in a place like Cornwall have shifted themselves off the council tax register anyway and have adopted the use of business tax ratings because that's a more tax-efficient way of operating their property.

"Under that particular system, they can also enjoy the benefit of appealing or applying for small business rate relief and end up paying nothing at all".

Andrew George

house keys
Affordable housing campaigners in Cornwall are calling for better management of stocks to ease the empty homes crisis

"After seeing reports that the number of empty homes in England had increased in recent years, we decided to look at where housing stocks were being mostly underused by analysing and ranking the proportion of long-term vacancies across councils in England, Scotland and Wales.

"After compiling freedom of information requests that we sent to councils around the UK, and analysing the most recent government figures, we found that despite England having the highest total of long-term vacant homes, it is in fact Wales that has the highest proportion, with 20 in every 1,000 homes sitting empty for six months or longer. Similarly, Scotland has the second highest proportion across Great Britain.

"On a regional level, we found that Cornwall has the highest proportion of longer-term vacancies in England, with 25.8 in 1,000 homes vacant for over 10-years. 

"Overall, in London, where housing is at a real premium, the City of London has the highest proportion of vacancies of any borough, followed by Southwark, and Kensington and Chelsea".

Noel Summerfield, Admiral

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