Making sure that as many of Cornwall’s empty homes as possible are occupied could help solve the county’s severe housing shortage.
That’s the view of West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas who is seeking information about empty homes in a survey which has been sent to all the homes in his constituency.
The county faces the daunting prospect of finding space to build 52,000 new homes by 2030 with more than 7,000 of them earmarked for West Cornwall alone.
Official figures put the number of empty homes in West Cornwall at 1,300 but Mr Thomas believes that the real figure could be much higher and is seeking the help of local residents to get a true picture of the situation.
Last week a leaflet entitled ‘What do you care about in West Cornwall?’ was delivered to all the homes in the area and one of the sections in the leaflet focuses on Empty Homes.
It asks residents who know of a property which has been lying empty for a long period of time to simply write in the address and what type of accommodation it is (ie terraced house, flat, detached etc).
“Bringing back these empty properties into use would clearly help to alleviate the serious shortage of housing for local people and also contribute to the protection of our green spaces,” said Mr Thomas.
“Many of the flats above the shops in our high streets are lying empty and we all know of a house nearby which has not been occupied for a long time.
“Cornwall Council offers a range of assistance for the owners of empty properties to enable them to be converted into new homes, including low cost loans and free planning advice, so the empty homes present a real opportunity to help the many people who are struggling to find a house to live in.”
Leaflets can be handed in at any post office in the constituency by March 31st; alternatively details about properties which have been lying empty for a long period of time can also be submitted online at survey.derekthomas.org.