Number of empty dwellings in Peterborough rises to 3,395 properties, according to new figures

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Shelter warns more homes still need to be built

The number of empty homes in Peterborough has risen over the last 10 years, according to new figures.

There were 3,395 properties out of a total of 87,905 dwellings in Peterborough unoccupied on census day in March 2021.

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It means 3.9 per cent of homes in the city are empty – up from the 3.6 per cent a decade earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The number of unoccupied dwellings in Peterborough has risen over the last 10 years.The number of unoccupied dwellings in Peterborough has risen over the last 10 years.
The number of unoccupied dwellings in Peterborough has risen over the last 10 years.

Across the East of England 135,085 of 2,762,295 total houses (4.9 per cent) were empty.

But a leading group dedicated to tackling homelessness, says that filling the unoccupied homes would not cater for all those people in need of shelter.

Polly Neate, chief executive of housing and homelessness charity Shelter, said: “If we can fill empty homes we should, but we will never solve the housing emergency without building a new generation of good quality social homes that local people can afford to live in.”

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Luke Murphy, associate director for energy, climate, housing and infrastructure at the Institute for Public Policy Research, said: "Because the census took place during the pandemic, that may have contributed to the increase, but the rise means the Government should look again at policies to curb or control holiday homes, short-term lets, and empty homes.

"However, we mustn't pretend this will solve the housing crisis. We must build millions more homes, including affordable housing, if we're to ensure everyone has access to a secure, warm, and affordable home."

In England, the proportion of unoccupied dwellings has soared during the last decade, with 1.5 million (6.1 per cent) empty homes littered across the country – up from 4.2 per cent in 2011.

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “Local authorities can increase council tax by up to 300 per cent on long-term empty properties, take over empty homes by Compulsory Purchase Orders and Empty Dwelling Management Orders, and convert commercial buildings to residential without the need for a full planning application.

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“We have delivered over 2.2 million homes since 2010 and reduced the number of long-term empty homes by more than 30,000 over the same period.

"We are investing £11.5 billion to deliver tens of thousands more affordable homes.”