YOUR report listing some long term empty properties appropriated by Hastings Borough Council under its Compulsory Purchase Order powers is a positive step towards tackling this issue.
Given the four-figure number of these in the borough, it has a daunting task ahead of them if this project is going to be a success.
One of the listed was acquired after 17 years of no occupancy. While it sounds unbelievable a property could be empty for that amount of time, this is by no means the longest in the area.
Decaying away and situated in Gillsmans Hill, St Leonards, are at least three houses that have been empty for more than 30 years.
While this must be a county record, it must also be close to being a national record.
The staggering part of this is the owners, East Sussex County Council (ESCC).
Over a year ago I emailed ESCC Property and Legal department three times to inquire why these properties had been left boarded up for so long and what were its plans for them.
As expected when authorities want to avoid an issue they do not reply.
So these house still remain somewhat of a mystery.
Cllr Webb comments: “The council will not tolerate empty properties.”
On the contrary given the number involved here and the years they have been empty, surely the council has actually been more than tolerant of the problem.
Old Bury Hill Gardens