Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda

Memorandum by Julia Drown MP (EMP 56)


  I'm pleased that the Committee is looking into the subject of Empty Homes. I'm particularly concerned that planning authorities, public inquiries and planning inspectors are not seeing the importance of this.

  In Swindon we have a good record on Empty Homes but we could do even better and if challenging but sensible projections had been adopted by the planning authorities there would have been a reduced need to build on green fields.

  This multiplied across the country could make a huge impact on building requirements. The Empty Homes Agency believes that planning on a figure of 1.5 per cent of homes being empty is reasonable and I understand this has been achieved in some areas.

  I hope the Committee will recommend that the Government requires that unless exceptional reasons can be given, 1.5 per cent is built into all plans from now so that there is extra reason to get Empty Homes back into use and to preserve more green fields.

Julia Drown

Labour MP for South Swindon.

September 2001

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