Councillor hopeful that MOD will enter into discussions about empty RAF homes
- Credit: Archant
A councillor who has been campaigning to raise awareness about the number of empty RAF homes in Huntingdonshire is hopeful that the MOD will now agree to discuss the issue.
Brampton and district councillor, John Morris has told The Hunts Post previously that there were 115 empty homes at RAF Brampton and Wyton, from a stock of 498 homes. The MOD sets itself a target of having no more than 10 per cent of homes empty. Nationally, more than 11,000 MOD homes are currently empty, which costs the taxpayer more than £25m in rent and maintenance.
After a BBC investigation, the MOD told the broadcaster it was working towards reducing the number of empty homes as some have been unoccupied for up to 10 years.
Cllr Morris said: “I hope this national news coverage will encourage the MOD to sit down with Huntingdonshire District Council and other councils or housing associations to reduce the number of long-term empty homes.
“I have the utmost respect for all military personnel and I fully appreciate that the MOD do need to keep a percentage of homes empty for operational purposes. Service personnel deserve to live in homes that are of a decent standard. Many MOD leased homes are substandard and some have been left empty for up to 10 years.
He added: “I hope that by highlighting this issue the MOD will reduce the number of long-term empty homes and bring any homes that are sub standard up to the decent homes standard.”
The MOD statement to the BBC read: “We are working to bring down the vacancy rate through sub-letting and disposing of property we no longer need.” Cllr Morris has also raised concerns about the potential for vandalism if the homes stand empty for any length of time and believes the properties could be used to alleviate the district’s housing crisis.
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He said the MOD could consider letting some of the homes short term, possibly on assured shorthold tenancies, so they could be made available in future years for military personnel if required.
“It is known that we are having a housing crisis in Hutingdonshire and it seems to me that these houses shouldn’t just be sat empty, and should be used. I understand that some of the homes are needed for occupational use, but it doesn’t excuse the amount that are empty”
Cllr Morris hopes the homes can be brought back into use like those at Kyle Crescent, in Brampton. The former MOD homes had sat empty for number of years before finally being occupied after pressure from campaigners in 2015.
In February, Huntingdonshire District Council announced that they would be working with the owners of empty homes to bring properties back into use in a bid to beat the issue of empty homes in Huntingdonshire.