Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Task Group - Empty Properties - Thursday, 22nd June 2023 3.30 pm app available
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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Chorley

Contact: Matthew Pawlyszyn  Email:


No. Item


Declaration of Any Interests

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda.


If you have a pecuniary interest you must withdraw from the meeting. Normally you should leave the room before the business starts to be discussed. You do, however, have the same right to speak as a member of the public and may remain in the room to enable you to exercise that right and then leave immediately. In either case you must not seek to improperly influence a decision on the matter.


No interests were declared.


Minutes of Meeting Tuesday, 14 March 2023 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Minutes attached for approval.


Resolved: That the minutes be approved as a correct record.


Discussion with Executive Member for Homes and Housing and Executive Member for Planning and Development

The Executive Member for Homes and Housing and the Executive Member for Planning and Development will be in attendance at  the meeting.


The Task Group welcomed Executive Member for Homes and Housing Councillor Terry Howarth and Executive Member for Planning and Development Councillor Alistair Morwood.


Discussions included the placement of empty properties within the organisational structure, currently it was under the portfolio of Planning and Development, and under the Head of Planning and Enforcement. Arguments and considerations were made that it would be more suitable under housing.


Members and the Executive Members discussed the potential of a dedicated officer for Empty Properties, and what the role could look like. It was uncertain if additional responsibilities be added to an established role, a creation of a new part time position, or a post shared with South Ribble would occur.


Members acknowledged that comparably to other Borough and District Councils, the number of long term empty properties was quite low, but there was the belief that the targets achieved was through a number of easy wins and gave the view that expectations were being met. Members felt that tangible action, be it through communication or enforcement encouraged a resolution to outstanding issues, especially if the owner of the long term property was not aware of the properties condition and impact.


Members wished to see the process more streamlined and open, an example was of a tangible flowchart or pattern of work to highlight the process, which would enable further positive outcomes.


Members would like to see long-term empty properties reverted back into use, or as part of the council’s portfolio of properties. Members highlighted Preston City Council’s partnership with Community Gateway to resolve the number of empty properties in the city and would be welcoming of similar cooperation with partners.


It was reiterated that most long-term empty properties were cleared, renovated, sold or turned around within 2 to 4 years. It was the properties that caused or attracted anti-social behaviour or the properties that fell into disrepair that were the target of enforcement by the council. 


The use of Compulsory Purchase Orders were considered to be a legal and logistical nightmare and not favoured due to the cost to obtain the property and then the cost to repair and manage the property until it could be sold or rented. The requirement to enact a CPO required more than it just being empty.


Final Report Discussion

To receive, consider, amend and approve the Final Report of the Task Group.


Members of the Task Group went through the Final Reports making the final amendments to the document and the final recommendations, ahead of the document going for approval at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Executive Cabinet.