Heaton community activist Elizabeth Hellmich, of the Safe Project, welcomed the latest figures, saying: “It’s very much the kind of thing we have been hoping for.
“Bringing empty properties back into use makes such a difference to a place like Heaton. It’s not just the fact that it’s providing places for people to live, it’s about rejuvenating the area as well.”
The campaigner collected a petition of nearly 1,000 names urging Bradford Council to thoroughly examine brownfield locations which are ripe for development before building on any more greenfield sites.
It followed the Council announcing its long-term house-building target in 2011, which was cut in November after pressure from campaigners, including supporters of the Telegraph & Argus’s Save our Green Spaces campaign. The campaign encourages the re-use of existing buildings or brownfield sites for new housing developments, rather than targeting green fields.
She also handed a dossier mapping many of the then 13,720 empty homes and 268 derelict sites across the Bradford district to the Council as part of the T&A’s campaign.
Of the latest empty homes figures, she added that after ten years of pressure, bringing Emmfield Villas in Emm Lane, Heaton, back into use has made such a difference to the area, giving people confidence again.
Shipley-based brothers Zamir and Shakeel Hussain, who own Castle Residential Properties, bought the property to renovate after Bradford Council got the go-ahead for a compulsory purchase on it.
It was converted into 21 en-suite bedrooms over three floors and is being let out to students. The pair are also currently renovating an old pub in Shipley into flats and have brought many derelict properties back into use over the years.
Zamir Hussain told the T&A: “As a company we are not into new builds. It works well for us to take an empty or derelict property and convert it into units.”