£6m empty homes
boost for Liverpool
LIVERPOOL City Council is
delivering a new, £6 million programme to bring an additional 1,000
properties back into use. The Council is investing the funds
from its capital reserves, to build on the huge amount of progress
which has been made in tackling the problem of empty homes in the
City since 2012.
The investment will see a range of new initiatives being carried out
over the next 4 years, including:-
► The provision of loans and other forms of subsidy to encourage
owners to bring empty properties back into use.
► Acquiring long-term vacant properties from owners who wish to
sell, so they can be refurbished.
► Stepping up enforcement work, with more robust legal support to
take action against owners.
► Working in partnership with social housing providers to target
problem properties and problem neighbourhoods.
► Developing an 'Invest to Earn' pilot project with a leading
social housing partner, which would see the Council purchasing and
refurbishing properties for market rent purposes, with the revenue
generated ploughed into bringing more properties back into use.
As part of the plans, the City Council will also support local
businesses and the creation of local jobs by opening up its
refurbishment framework, inviting small and medium sized local
contractors to bid for works of under £100,000. It means that many
more Liverpool firms will be able to benefit from the City's empty
The new, £6 million programme will build on the range of work
already on-going in the City. The Council's Empty Homes Initiative,
launched in 2012, has brought 948 vacant properties back into use so
far, with 951 more in the pipeline; and the forthcoming appointment
of a Strategic Housing Delivery Partner will help the Council
refurbish a further 1,000 properties.
Together, the City's Empty Homes Initiative, the appointment of a
housing delivery partner and the additional £6 million investment,
could bring around 4,000 houses back into use in the City by 2018,
almost half the total number in Liverpool.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said:- "I pledged to bring
at least 1,000 properties back into use during my term of office. We
are already on-track to surpass this target, but I want us to go
even further, and this additional funding will allow us to build on
the huge amount of work that is going on, across the City.
It reaffirms our commitment to do everything in our power to tackle
the empty properties which blight our neighbourhoods. It will enable
us to get tougher on irresponsible homeowners. And it will allow us
work with our partners to better target some of the major problem
areas in the City. We'll also be making sure this new
programme provides opportunities for small local builders to carry
out refurbishment works, supporting local jobs and growing local
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann
O'Byrne, said:- "Our work to bring empty properties back into
use is having a real impact on our neighbourhoods, and this latest
investment will enable us to propel this work further than ever
We will be delivering a range of new projects which will make a
further significant dent in the number of vacant properties in the
City; from providing financial incentives to property owners, and
taking tougher enforcement action against those who fail to
co-operate with us, to developing new projects with our social
This new pot of funding means we can take even bigger strides
forward in our on going work to deliver thriving and attractive
neighbourhoods, in every part of Liverpool. It's great news for the
City; and it's great news for small, local builders, who will be
able to bid for the refurbishment work." The new, £6m programme will complement the range of projects
currently taking place to refurbish vacant properties in the City.
In Anfield, the City Council is working with partners including Your
Housing Group to refurbish 550 homes, as part of the wider £260m
regeneration plans for the area. Meanwhile, in Granby, a £14m
investment from Plus Dane, Liverpool Mutual Homes and community
organisations, will bring more than 100 properties back into use by
On-going work to track down and engage with owners and carry out
enforcement action has driven around £1.2m of private sector
investment in these properties since 2012.
Registered Providers are also playing their part and have brought
forward investment plans to tackle hundreds of long term voids
within their own stock.
Meanwhile, the City Council's 'Homes for a Pound' pilot is
providing an opportunity for first time buyers to purchase homes
from the Council for a pound and to take on the refurbishment of
them. The initial pilot is for 20 homes.
attendance improves thanks to Merseytravel's interventions
DISADVANTAGED young people
who have been struggling to pay for their travel to school, college
or training have been given a helping hand by Merseytravel.
Members at the first Merseytravel Committee of the new Combined
Authority will be hearing of the successes of a pilot scheme
launched last year, to help those most in need.
It followed insight that some teenagers were not turning up at
school, college or apprenticeships because they couldn't afford the
cost of public transport or lacked awareness about transport
The scheme; which included giving out free travel tickets, bikes
and personalised journey planning information; has had a positive
impact on those who took part.
Broadgreen International School said that 98% of students
who received support with transport costs showed a marked
improvement in their attendance.
Headteacher Sally Beevers said:- "We are grateful for
Merseytravel's support, which has had a positive impact on our
students. Their generous offer of travel passes for some of our
students who have very poor attendance and punctuality has
demonstrated that high public transport costs for young people can
be a barrier to attending school when household income is low. We
want to see these good patterns of attendance continue and will
commit further school funding to ensure this happens."
As well as Broadgreen, Merseytravel worked with another 6 education
providers during the pilot – Litherland, Haydock and Ridge Way High
Schools, Knowsley Community College, Mersey Maritime and UK Railway.
After the trials they all gave good feedback and demonstrated how
the range of support provided has made transport more affordable for
Andy Pollard, Headteacher at Haydock High School, said:-
"There is a simple equation: If a student doesn't come to school he
or she doesn't learn. We serve a community high in social
deprivation and some of our parents struggle, routinely, to find
money for bus fares. I am deeply indebted to Merseytravel for the
support given to 12 of our most needy students. Because of the
generous offer of a free bus pass they can now attend school and
receive the education which we hope will stand them in good stead
for the future. Mersytravel has helped the school honour its pledge
that 'every child matters, every child is known and every child can
Knowsley Community College also praised the initiative after more
than 2,000 students benefited from expert travel advice during
enrolment, including awareness of financial support available. A
leaflet produced by Merseytravel is now being used at all
promotional events for the college to highlight the range of travel
Apprentices at UK Railyway, who had no income and because of their
age were not eligible for Jobseekers' Allowance, were also supported
by Merseytravel. By giving them free tickets it ensured they were
able to complete mandatory training off-site, which led to them
gaining employment in the rail industry.
As a result of the initial pilot, Members are being asked to agree a
raft of measures at their meeting on 10 April 2014 to ensure
affordability remains high on the agenda.
Further plans include working with commercial operators to launch a
£2 day ticket later this month for young people up to the age of 16.
Chair of Merseytravel Councillor Liam Robinson said:- "We
understand that the cost of travel can reduce access to education
and life-enhancing opportunities such as training, work experience
or volunteering. This is why we signed a pledge to work with
transport operators, education establishments and local authorities
to make transport more affordable for young people. It's
heart-warming to hear from teachers and other partners about the
difference we are making to these young people's lives and we want
to build on this success."