No Use Empty; the East Kent Empty Property Initiative has hosted the second in a series of training workshops for empty property officers from across the region. The aim of the training is to help them increase their knowledge and understanding of legislation which can help bring empty properties back into use.
The session focused on Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) which are an important weapon in the armoury of empty property officers. CPOs are employed as a last resort, when all other less stringent methods to bring an empty property back into use have failed. Once served to the owner the council has the right to take ownership of the property.
Empty property officers from nine Kent authorities attended the workshop as well as representatives from various other departments including legal, planning and environmental health. The training was led by Chris Skinner, Head of Great Yarmouth Legal and Member Services.
No Use Empty is a joint initiative between Kent County Council and the four district councils of East Kent; Dover, Shepway, Swale and Thanet. There are around 9,000 empty properties across East Kent which represents a valuable wasted housing resource. The aim of the campaign is to encourage owners of the empty properties to bring them back into use.
Susan Pledger, Project Manager of No Use Empty said; We recognise that, in some cases, drastic action must be taken if we are to counter the negative impact empty properties have on communities in East Kent, such as attracting crime and vandalism. Although CPOs are only ever used as a last resort, if all other courses of action have failed and the owner is not constructively engaging with the relevant local authority, they can become our only option.
Free help and advice is available to property owners who are advised to browse this site or call the No Use Empty hotline 08458 247605.