Turning Brum’s empty houses and land banked sites into homes

Cllr Peter Griffiths - cabinet member for Housing and Homes

Cllr Peter Griffiths – cabinet member for Housing and Homes

Cabinet will be asked to follow up on Birmingham’s success in bringing empty properties back into use by buying up privately owned vacant sites to build new houses on – including sites that have been land banked by private individuals and developers.

At the meeting on 20 September, Cabinet will also be asked to speed up the process through the delegation of decisions to the cabinet member and strategic director.

Cabinet member for Housing and Homes, Cllr Peter Griffiths said: “We need to provide at least 89,000 new homes by 2031.  If we’re to do this we need to work with our partners in the housing sector and think through all the options available.

“As well as ramping up our Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT) house building programme we are looking to free up sites that have been land banked and not developed.  We also need to extend and speed up the work we are doing to bring empty properties back into use.

“Land banking of development sites severely limits the supply of new homes and in Birmingham we’ve identified sites that could accommodate over 8,000 new homes which already have planning permission.  We would like to acquire these sites to build much needed homes for our citizens.  Many of these plots have become magnets for anti-social behaviour in the same way as empty properties often are so building on these vacant and often unsightly plots will make a real difference to the surrounding neighbourhoods too.

“In the last three years we have brought around 1,000 empty properties back into use, providing homes for Birmingham’s citizens and improving neighbourhoods.  Astonishingly, more than 5,000 privately owned properties in the city have been vacant for more than six months and 1,900 have been empty for more than three years.  By speeding up the process through delegating decisions we can build on our success and bring more of these empty properties back into use. “

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