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Bridgend Council to enter national empty homes scheme

BRIDGEND Council has signed off on plans intended to reduce the number of empty properties in the borough this month, after council bosses gave the green-light to join the Welsh Government backed empty properties programme.

The £50 million National Empty Properties Scheme is currently set to run for two years, and allows for the owners of empty properties to apply for funding of up £25,000.
It is hoped the scheme will bring a number of properties back into use as affordable housing, and can be used by applicants for improvements, provided they contribute a minimum of 15% of the costs themselves, and live in the property as their main residence for at least five years after completion.

To qualify for the grant, a property must have been registered as empty with the council for a period of 12 months before the start of any works, with property owners, social landlords, and community housing groups all able to access the funding.
The introduction of the scheme comes just weeks after Bridgend Council announced a 100% council tax premium on long term empty properties which will begin on April 1, 2023.
The council will now enter an agreement with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, who have been named as the lead authority for the National Empty Properties Scheme in Wales.

Councillor Rhys Goode, Cabinet Member for Future Generations and Wellbeing, said: “When so many people are facing the very real threat of homelessness, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to ensure more empty properties are being brought back into use.
“We are desperate for more homes in Bridgend County Borough and we hope these measures provide both a carrot and a stick approach to encourage owners to bring their properties back into use for the benefit of the community.”