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Councils like Camden are to be given even more powers to tackle empty homes in the borough, and extra cash for local services if they succeed. Meanwhile, owners who leave homes to rot could be hit where it hurts: in their pocket.
A clamp down on empty property featured in the Liberal Democrat manifesto last year. Now, with Liberal Democrats in government, our local campaign to rescue some of Haverstock’s wasted homes has had a huge shot in the arm.
Specifically, Camden Council needs to tackle 2 Malden Road and 201 Prince of Wales Road. These are two properties where, faced with council complacency, I have taken matters into my own hands and written directly to the owners. But landowners have little incentive to do anything when they know the council will continue to turn a blind eye.
If you are one of the thousands of families who has been stuck for years on the housing waiting list, there can be few things more disheartening, and downright offensive, than a perfectly good home sitting empty just around the corner.
If you are a skilled tradesman out of work, you know you could fix up these properties if only the money was there. And, if you live on the same street as a derelict home, it is utterly miserable watching your neighbourhood literally falling to pieces.
Camden’s problem with empty homes is so acute we have been specifically targeted by squatters groups.
I will be pushing hard for Camden to use these new powers, alongside the ones they already have, to turn around empty properties in Haverstock. That could mean extra cash for local services, more jobs for tradesmen, communities cleaned up and, crucially, more homes for local families in need.