Lincoln council agrees new strategy to tackle empty homes in Sincil Bank

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Councillors agreed on a new strategy to bring empty homes back into use in Lincoln — particularly in the Sincil Bank area — over the next four years.

City of Lincoln Council’s Executive approved the Empty Homes Strategy up until 2022 at a meeting on Monday, March 26.

The number of empty homes in the city has come down by almost 200 in the last three years.

However, as of January 1, 2018, 419 homes were empty for more than six months, which is higher than the Lincolnshire and England average.

The council has an aspiration of having no residential property empty for more than two years without clear plans to bring it back to use.

A key target for the strategy will be returning long term empty homes to use, focusing specifically on houses vacant for over six months.

The council aims through intervention to bring 50 homes every year back into use in the city.

Particular focus will be given to the Sincil Bank area, with the council optimistic that improvements in the quality of housing will boost economic growth, reduce inequality by providing increased skills training, and cut down on anti-social behaviour such as fly-tipping and drug-taking.

The council will work with the Community Land Trust to regenerate Sincil Bank and reduce homelessness in the area.

Community land trusts are a form of community-led housing, organised by members of the public to manage homes.

Simon Colburn, Assistant Director (Health and Environmental Services) at City of Lincoln Council, said the strategy had been debated and modified by Policy Scrutiny Committee.

He said enforcement action could range from advice to property owners to compulsory purchase orders.

He said: “The key focus is Sincil Bank. That’s not to say we won’t cover areas but with limited resources, we’ll be focusing on this area.

“Where additional financial resources are required for example for a compulsory purchase order, we’ll bring it back before committee.”

Councillor Pete West, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “It is a challenging target, but I do welcome the outcomes that it will bring.”