Empty homes work leads to national award

The commitment demonstrated by Amber Valley Borough Council in bringing empty properties back into use has been acknowledged by a national agency with a prestigious award.

The council’s Housing Officer – Empty Properties, Adrian Anderson, has been named the Empty Homes Network’s (EHN) 'Empty Homes Practitioner of the Year' in recognition of the positive work being carried out by him and the council.

In making the award, the EHN focussed on one example of the enforced sale of an empty property in Ripley and its subsequent return to use. In a statement about the award the judging panel said: "We were extremely impressed with the journey and commitment shown throughout the process to see the property returned to use, and would like to congratulate you on this achievement which is very well deserved."

The council became involved in the project after receiving noise complaints from neighbours and discovered from the police that it was being used as a drugs den. Then followed strenuous efforts to track down the owner and persuade him to put the property up for auction. When this did not happen as promised the council issued an Improvement Notice for vital work to be carried out. When this was also ignored the council carried out the works.

Eventually the property sale was enforced to recover the debt incurred in carrying out the improvement works and the house was finally bought by a local developer at auction and subsequently refurbished and sold to a family who are now in occupation.

From start to finish, the case took nearly five years to resolve, from initial complaint to collection of sale proceeds.

Commenting on the award win, Councillor Paul Hillier, the borough council’s portfolio holder for housing and public health, said: "Bringing back empty properties into use has always been a key focus for us and this case demonstrates the huge efforts that are often required to succeed. The award is well-deserved recognition for the sterling efforts of Adrian and other officers in the housing team along with our legal team who provided invaluable support."

Pictured - Adrian Anderson receives his 'Empty Homes Practitioner of the Year' certificate from Mayor of Amber Valley, Councillor David Taylor.

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 570222 or email enquiry@ambervalley.gov.uk