Saturday, August 09, 2008

Empty Properties - Your Views Sought

The letter below has this week gone out to amenities societies and action groups within the borough inviting them to contribute to the scrutiny on empty properties that my committee is carrying out this Autumn. I think I have a pretty good idea of the problematic properties in Ladywell, and indeed one or two of them may well be used as case studies for the investigation (!), but if you have anything you would like to contribute, please do. I'm particularly keen to look at how we are using our powers under planning and environmental health laws and how effective our carrots (shop improvement grants, grants to bring properties back in to use for social housing) and sticks (empty dwelling management orders etc) are compared to other local authorities

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to let you know about a review of empty properties being carried out by Lewisham Council's Sustainable Development Select Committee. The Committee will be looking at how the council addresses the issue of empty homes and commercial properties in the borough, and what can be done to further reduce numbers.

As empty properties can be a blight on local areas - often leading to anti-social behaviour such as graffiti, fly-tipping and pest infestations - the Chair of the Committee (Councillor Sue Luxton) is keen to hear from local societies such as your own. Any contributions you wish to make to the review will be considered by the committee, along with a range of other evidence, when making their final recommendations. Contributions you may wish to make to the review might include:

  • examples of empty properties (domestic or commercial) in your local area - particularly those which have become derelict or have led to anti-social behaviour such as those listed above;
  • your experiences of how problem empty properties have been dealt with by the council; and
  • the impact of empty properties on your neighbourhood.

Contributions can be made by email ( or by post to:

Joel Hartfield
Overview & Scrutiny
London Borough of Lewisham
2nd Floor Civic Suite
London SE6 4RU

If you don't feel you have anything to contribute to the review but would nevertheless like to attend the review sessions held in public, then they will take place at 7:30pm on the 2nd September and 7th October. Details of each meeting will be available on the council website around a week in advance of each meeting. The final report and recommendations are likely to be presented to the Mayor and Cabinet in November or December.

Further information on the work of the Sustainable Development Select Committee is available here.

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