Nearly 100 homes in Calderdale have been sitting empty for ten years or more, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.
The figures, uncovered through Freedom of Information requests, show that there are over 1,300 homes across Calderdale that have been empty for six months or more. Of these, 278 had been empty for two years or more, 101 for five years or more, and nearly 100 have stood empty for at least ten years.
Calderdale Council has failed to make use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO), powers used by local authorities to take over properties that have been empty for at least two years. This is despite the fact that some local families have spent Christmas without a home.
Nationally only 19 of the 247 councils in England and Wales that responded (the powers do not apply in Scotland) had used an EDMO in the past five years. Of these only six had used one in the past year.
Leader of the Calderdale Council Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr James Baker (Warley) said: “At a time when the homelessness crisis is worsening and more and more people are sleeping out in the cold on our streets, it is a scandal that so many homes locally are sitting empty.
“These homes could be turned into affordable places to live for those that need them and reduce the need to include so many new homes in the Local Plan.
“The Government needs to urgently review the current system which is clearly not working and Calderdale Council needs to be given the powers and resources to bring empty homes back into use” said Cllr Baker