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Empty homes across north Norfolk brought back into use as council cracks down on eyesores

An empty property in St Austin's Grove in Sheringham was brought back into use. How it looks now. Pictures: NNDC

An empty property in St Austin's Grove in Sheringham was brought back into use. How it looks now. Pictures: NNDC

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Empty homes are a major frustration for many communities at a time of a national housing shortage.

St Austin's Grove before it was transformed. Pictures: NNDCSt Austin's Grove before it was transformed. Pictures: NNDC

Empty homes are a major frustration for many communities at a time of a national housing shortage.

Many become eyesores, unsafe and can even attract vermin.

A four-year campaign from North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) to bring empty homes back into use is continuing to bring positive results.

NNDC has been encouraging owners to renovate properties, change ownership, or demolish their homes and rebuild on the site.

Helena Road, Walcott, now. Pictures: NNDCHelena Road, Walcott, now. Pictures: NNDC

The council said that just 0.9pc of the 55,110 properties in the district - about 500 - were classed as being empty for six months or more, as of October 1.

The vast majority have been empty for less than two years, with 127 homes being empty for two years or more.

Successful examples of where a home has been brought back into use include a long-term empty property in George Street, Sheringham, where a young couple moved in after intervention by the council’s enforcement board to bring about a change in ownership.

Elsewhere, a derelict railway carriage accommodation at Walcott has been completely transformed by a new owner into stylish, modern accommodation that is also occupied.

Helena Road, Walcott, before. Pictures: NNDCHelena Road, Walcott, before. Pictures: NNDC

If encouragement has failed, the council will consider, as a last resort, applying for a Compulsory Purchase Order which would see the homeowner instructed by the Government to sell their property to the council.

In February, the council successfully completed the compulsory purchase of two properties in Sculthorpe that had been empty since they were built in the late 1990s.

Leader of the council John Lee said: “These figures show how serious this council is about bringing empty properties back into use, in many cases they are a blot on the landscape and spoil many street scenes. We need more homes, by bringing existing ones back into use is a great place to start”.

The council has featured five properties that have been transformed on its website to mark Empty Homes Week, which runs from October 15 to 21.

NNDC leader John Lee said the council was serious about bringing empty homes back into use.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNNDC leader John Lee said the council was serious about bringing empty homes back into use. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Each year local authorities can use the week to share the work they are doing to tackle empty homes.

These properties are in St Austin’s Grove, Sheringham, Oak Street, Fakenham, Chapmans Close, Sheringham, Helena Road, Walcott, hand Norwich Road, Cromer.

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