Empty, abandoned properties in Widnes being turned into homes

Runcorn and Widnes World: Nick Atkin, chief executive of Halton Housiing Trust Nick Atkin, chief executive of Halton Housiing Trust

EMPTY houses are being turned into much loved homes.

Halton Housing Trust is currently revamping four houses, with three more in the pipeline.

Two have been completed in Reay Street and Market Street in Widnes.

All four are due to be completed by the end of March.

Beth O’Sullivan, aged 20, the first resident to move into Reay Street, said: “I have been in my new house since the beginning of February and I couldn’t be happier. The area is ideal for me and my eight-month-old son.

“The Trust has been incredibly helpful and very supportive and I am looking forward to making this my home.”

The properties had been left empty after owners were unable to maintain them for more than six months.

The scheme is being partially funded by the Homes and Communities Agency.

Bringing empty homes back into use is a high priority set by the government.

John Dale, the trust’s investment manager, said: “It’s fantastic to bring houses back into the community and provide additional homes for our customers. We are really pleased that we have been able to undertake this work in house and are delighted with the results.”

With such high demand for properties in Halton, the trust has recognised that not only will this provide a home, it can also change a local community and boost the housing market.

All the work is carried out by trust employees at construction services, who must adhere to specific criteriaunder the HCA’S design and quality standards.

There are many risks associated with empty homes, such as vandalism and squatters with the funding from HCA, the trust can work towards preventing these risks and help build and improve communities.

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