FLINTSHIRE Council has struck a deal with a property services firm which it is hoped will go some way to help speed up bringing the authority’s empty homes back into use.
As previously covered by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the issue of ‘void’ properties has been a hot topic at County Hall over the past year.
Voids are empty council-owned properties which require work between the previous tenant moving out and being allocated to another tenant.
Earlier this year concerns were aired in housing scrutiny meetings by councillors from across the political spectrum that the backlog of void properties was not reducing quickly enough.
The pandemic had hampered progress and held up work being done, with the number of voids having reached more than 260 by April.
But the council has now entered into an agreement with property services business Liberty securing a new General Building Works and Property Refurbishment Framework on empty homes.
The £1.2 million multi-year contract will see the business repair and refurbish empty homes to an updated and modern standard for new tenants across the council’s 7,300 properties.
As part of the new contract, the business is committed to supporting the local community. Liberty will offer an apprenticeship for a local young person to kickstart their career and work with the council on community projects that make a positive impact.
Representatives from Liberty say they are also committed to caring for the environment and plans to reduce carbon emissions by using electric vehicles.
Bryan Tennant, Regional Director (Repairs and Maintenance and Construction), at Liberty said: “I am thrilled to be partnering with Flintshire County Council.
“This significant milestone allows us to breathe new life into vacant properties, revitalising them to meet the highest modern standards for the benefit of the council’s tenants.
“Together with Flintshire County Council, we embark on a transformative journey. Our shared vision encompasses not only the renovation of properties but also the empowerment of individuals. At Liberty, we are proud to be catalysts of positive change and progress.”
Flintshire County Council’s Chief Officer for Housing and Communities, Vicky Clark added: “We are looking forward to working with Liberty to refurbish our empty housing stock.
“It is positive that the company is committed to supporting the local community in what will be an ambitious project to bring our void properties up to modern standards and to be able to offer a home for those in need.”