A staggering 1 in 20 homes on the Isle of Wight is either vacant or classed as a second home, according to the analysis on Government figures completed by campaigners Action on Empty Homes.
The campaign group found that as of October, 3,564 homes across the Island were unused – with just over 500 of these being long-term vacancies and over 3,000 being second homes. Other figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government also showed that 238 children in 186 households were being housed in temporary accommodation as of September.
A Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government spokesperson commented:
“We have given councils powers and strong incentives to tackle empty homes, including the power to increase council tax by up to 300 per cent on these properties, and take over the management of homes that have been empty for a long period.
“They also receive the same New Homes Bonus for bringing an empty home back into use as for building a new one.”
Despite the high numbers, there has been a decline from last year (2020). 131 homes on the Isle of Wight are classed as being long-term empty, with the Isle of Wight Council’s definition of long-term empty homes being those which have been vacant for 2 years or more.
The council said that thanks in part to its intervention, there has been a steady decline in numbers over the last 2 years – thanks in part to the adoption of an Empty Property Strategy, aiming to bring long-term empty properties back into use, in 2019.
The Isle of Wight ranks as number 55 out of 328 councils in terms of the amount of empty properties, according to data by The Empty Homes Network.