The problem of empty homes lying fallow on Bradford’s streets is one of the biggest obstacles in the path of the district achieving the target of providing enough housing for everyone who needs it.
Conversely, it is also the solution to stopping developers building on the green fields that give much of the area such a beautiful aspect.
Now, however, it seems great strides are being made into chipping into the problem, and helping to create the right sort of homes for those who need them in the Bradford district.
It has long been the contention of the Telegraph & Argus that rather than selling off swathes of beautiful countryside so that developers can build expensive executive homes that command top prices, more should be done to utilise post-industrial brownfield sites and existing empty homes.
Properties left abandoned or derelict, either by owners who are just sitting on them or because they have fallen into structural disrepair, are unsightly and attract the unwanted attention of vandals, vagrants and vermin.
But it seems that Bradford Council’s policy of targeting houses which have stood empty for more than six months is reaping dividends, as their policy of tracking down the owners and helping them to either bring the homes back into use, put them in the hands of housing associations, or compulsorily purchase them as a last resort has seen a marked improvement.
At the latest tally there were 3,953 homes in the district that had been empty for more than six months – a little more than half the figure five years ago. If Bradford Council can build on this performance and wipe out the rest of the problem, it will go a long way to helping solve the district’s housing need and preserve green fields for everyone else.