Housing bosses in Wolverhampton are set to discuss plans for 20 new homes on the site of a derelict former adventure playground, as part of an ongoing drive to combat homelessness in the city.
The council this week warned private landlords that any homes left empty for long periods of time will be seized and used to provide accommodation for needy families – with houses in Bilston and Pennfields among the latest.
Alongside the council’s Empty Properties Strategy, it is anticipated that the continued residential development of suitable empty areas of land in the borough will help to drive down the numbers of homeless families and rough sleepers in the city.
The site of the former Old Fallings Adventure Playground, which finally closed in November last year following repeated episodes of vandalism, has now been earmarked for a new housing development.
The city council’s Scrutiny Board is set to discuss the matter next month.
Councillor Peter O’Neill, chairman of the council’s Children, Young People and Families Scrutiny Panel, said: “Now that this site has been declared as ‘surplus’, it could instead be used to build much-needed new housing which would greatly revitalise the surrounding area.
“There is a desperate need for housing in the area and we have been working with Wolverhampton Homes and other partners to look at ways in which we can develop it.
“The area is about two and-a-half acres in size and a housing project would mean it is likely to be a building site for a couple of years.
“However, we are actively looking at whether it could be used to help meet the growing demand for new housing in the city by developing around 20 properties on the site.”
The latest two privately owned long-term empty homes identified for compulsory purchase orders by the council this week are located in Beckett Street, Bilston, and Rayleigh Road, Pennfields.
Despite the increasing demand for new housing in Wolverhampton, a recent survey conducted by national firm Attic Self Storage revealed that the number of long-term vacant properties in the West Midlands has steadily improved over the years, with 26,402 in 2004, 10,867 in 2013 and 9,778 by the end of 2017.
During this period Wolverhampton reported an improvement rate of 0.6 per cent behind Walsall and Sandwell.
Source: Express and Star