More than 300 properties lay empty in Cherwell says party FOI

Spring Gardens, Banbury. NNL-180901-145314009
Spring Gardens, Banbury. NNL-180901-145314009

Figures uncovered by a Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrat party reveal Cherwell district has almost 400 vacant houses.

In total 376 homes lay empty with nine of those vacant for more than a decade across Cherwell, the figures show.

Spring Gardens, Banbury. NNL-180901-145242009

Spring Gardens, Banbury. NNL-180901-145242009

These include 102 homes which have been unoccupied for more than two years, and 30 which have been unoccupied for more than five years.

Banbury contains the most vacant homes with 32 per cent or 120 with Bicester and Kidlington having 13 and 14 per cent respectively.

The statistics also show that during the year 2016/17 just 12 vacant homes were brought into use by Cherwell District Council (CDC).

Furthermore CDC’s new affordable homes constructed on Spring Walk by the Woodgreen Leisure Centre remain mostly unoccupied despite CDC advertising for buyers in July last year.

The Banbury Guardian contacted CDC last summer requesting information on the situation. CDC responded saying: “There was a delay of several weeks between Keepmoat completing the shells and their being awarded the contract to fit-out the properties.”

Six months on and the site still has fencing up and there seems to be only a few signs of life on the site despite the homes going on the market in November.

CDC said in a statement: “ The development at Spring Gardens and Spring Walk in Banbury comprises 18 shared ownership homes and the first 12 were released onto the market in October last year. Since then, ten of these have been sold and eight are now occupied, with the first residents moving in last November.”

They added: “The outstanding six properties are currently undergoing remediation work on the garage roof and will be released onto the open market once the work has been signed off.”

When pressed to confirm eight of the homes were occupied, following a Guardian check suggesting the figure was lower than that, CDC clarified their initial release, saying: “We can fully confirm that ten of the 12 available properties have been sold and eight are legally classified as complete.

“The properties do require internal finishings which include laying floors and tiling which purchasers undertake in their own time and at their own pace.”

See page 11 for more.