Councillor’s anger at empty houses in area
A new report which revealed Ryedale has 250 empty or unfurnished properties has been described as “horrendous” by District Councillor Elizabeth Shields.
She said: “As councillors we were asked to approve the adoption of higher premiums, proposed by central Government, for the owners of such properties.
“Some dwellings have been vacant for two, five or even 10 years.”
Coun Shields, a past chairman of the council’s former housing committee, which she says should be re-established, added: “This is a disgraceful situation.
“While the Government has been urging councils everywhere to build more housing, irrespective in some cases of long-held green boundaries, ministers should have stressed the need first, to check the number of unused properties – probably thousands countryside. Our RDC staff work hard to deal with homelessness and are in close contact with housing associations throughout Ryedale.
“Many hours are spent dealing with those who find themselves homeless, providing temporary accommodation or giving advice to newcomers, so there is no criticism there.
“As council members we should be playing a more active part in what is the most crucial and basic need for all our residents.
“There are many young single people and couples in urgent need of a roof over their heads.
“It must be a major consideration of RDC to increase its efforts for those seeking housing and for the government to pass the Bill on Empty Dwellings as soon as possible.”