Let's fill empty homes before building new ones

First published in Letters

WITH the recent announcement that south Worcestershire will have to find space for 28,370 new homes by 2030, there are very real concerns about how this will negatively impact upon the quality of living in our town.

Space for 5,000 new homes will need to be found in Malvern, and much of this will be green areas that are essential to maintaining health and wellbeing.

Everyone recognises the need for more affordable accommodation, but what seems to be missing in the recent debates is any focus on the number of empty properties currently existing in our area.

Recent statistics on empty homes (http://www.emptyhomes.com/statistics-2/empty-homes-statistice-201112/) suggest there are 6,406 in Worcestershire, including 923 in Malvern Hills of which 387 are ‘long term empty’.

If you walk around Malvern then it is not difficult to locate empty properties, including those above shops, that could take some pressure off this manic urge to build, build, build. There are also a number buildings that have been earmarked for housing development in the local plan, like the old community hospital in Lansdowne Road, that have remained empty, unused and under offer for many, many months. You can find others too without looking that hard.

Shouldn't we be putting more effort into making use of our existing infrastructure rather than just watching it sit there doing nothing?

John Blewitt

Chair, Malvern Hills Green Party

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