Council forges ahead with plans to bring empty properties back into use

Sunderland City Council is forging ahead with plans to bring 365 empty properties back into use as family homes over the next five years.

The City Council has already bought 12 empty homes as part of its commitment to delivering more affordable housing in the city.

One of the first to be completed, a semi-detached house in Dene Street, Hetton, is setting the standard for new council homes in Sunderland after being completely renovated as part of the programme.

The house, which had previously stood empty for more than three years, has been completely transformed to the new council standard. 

Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Dynamic City at Sunderland City Council, said: "This house was in a poor condition and was having a negative impact on the area after standing empty for so long.

"Its back garden was completely overgrown and the house itself was so bad that it needed just about everything doing to it.

"But what we've managed to achieve here is an amazing transformation, we have turned the run down property into a desirable family home and sets the standard of the homes the council will deliver.

"This is all about giving families homes, that's why we became a social landlord again late last year. It's about giving people a future and a fresh start."

Sunderland City Council has already bought a further 10 empty properties, and more are now being identified for purchase. All properties will be brought up to the council's high standards and let out as high quality affordable homes to meet local housing needs. 

Councillor Atkinson added: "We know that having empty, boarded up and often run down properties is a real blight for a number of our communities. Empty properties attract things like fly tipping, break-ins and anti-social behaviour. Therefore, we have committed to bringing many empty homes across the city back into use as family homes over the next five years. 

"Buying up and bringing empty homes back into use is a targeted approach to strengthen and improve life in our communities by reducing the number of empty properties across our city."

A video of the Dene Street property's transformation is available here: