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A crisis of imagination in our cities of empty homes

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THERE’S something you should know about the “housing crisis”. It isn’t really a crisis at all. It’s a failure of imagination and political will to bring back into use the countless number of homes standing empty and neglected across the country.

It might surprise you to learn that there are thousands in our region. Only last week, a Leeds councillor, Barry Anderson, the Conservative spokesman for housing, called on council bosses to do more to tackle the “stubborn core” of a reported 5,724 properties lying empty in the city.

Leeds has received many accolades over the years, but the title of “second-worst city in the country for empty homes” is not one it should be particularly proud of, despite Labour claiming that the true figure was, in fact, 3,500.

Either way, Coun Anderson was speaking out after a Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrats revealed than more than 216,000 homes across England and Wales stand unoccupied. This mind-boggling figure represents a mixture of social housing no longer fit for purpose and private homes abandoned by owners for a number of reasons, including mortgage default and failure to sell on the open market.

Now, if my........

© Yorkshire Evening Post