Empty offices to new flats!
EMPTY offices could be converted into flats as part of a scheme announced by the Government this week.
The emphasis should be on creating affordable secure housing in sustainable communities. This could take the form of social housing, shared ownership schemes and housing co-operatives, ideally in projects which create training and employment opportunties for the unemployed. What we don’t need is more poorly regulated, insecure and unaffordable housing or an increase in city centre luxury accommodation. Any private rented accommodation should be in the form of Assured tenancies or long renewable fixed-term Assured Shortholds with predictable rents and increases linked to an index reflecting the cost of living. There should also be a requirement for landlords to be part of a local landlord accreditation scheme. A strategic approach to any new developments should be adopted in line with the above framework along with a major national social housing building programme. Any moves for exemptions from planning permission should not compromise environmental, health and safety and social cohesion considerations.
The Empty Homes Agency is campaigning for a right to reclaim which proposes a new legal right empowering communities and citizens to reclaim abandoned property. This right would be open to all communities and citizens allowing them the right to make a claim to use an empty property as their home (See: http://www.emptyhomes.com/what-we-do-2/campaign-demands/campaign-for-a-right-to-reclaim/).