Awards recognise rehab of empty homes

AN empty home that had fallen into disrepair, following its owner being admitted into care, has been named among the winners of an annual awards competition, recognising the rehabilitation of empty properties.

Among the winners at the 11th Scottish Empty Homes Awards, the empty home on the Western Isles was chosen ‘Best Before and After’ category victor.

Say the organisers of the awards (here): “This property had been left empty due to the last owner going into care. The property was brought to the [local authority] Empty Homes officer’s attention, due to the overgrown garden and complaints about rodent infestation.

“VAT discounts and company discounts were provided to assist the new owner with restoring the property, to the delight of the local residents in the area.”

The organisers, the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said awards recognise “the efforts of individuals, private businesses, and council staff in bringing 851 empty homes back into use over 2020/21”.

The other winners were:

Outstanding individual: Elaine Hall, Falkirk Council – “Elaine has worked in Empty Homes since 2016, and has assisted to bring 247 properties back into use. Elaine has done a fantastic job, particularly in engaging with vulnerable empty homeowners to provide support and assistance.”

Outstanding team: Argyll & Bute Council – “The housing team at Argyll & Bute Council are closely aligned and include an ‘empty homes working group’ who collaborate with the aim of unlocking long term empty homes. The council demonstrate what can be achieved when this type of work is included in housing strategies.”

Best old wreck: South of Scotland Community Housing, Langholm Police Station – “This project has repurposed a prominent town centre B-category listed building, disused for 15 years and in a state of significant disrepair, as four community-led affordable homes. The outcome of the project is an outstanding restoration of a historical building, bringing two long-term empty homes back into use.”

Pictured: Best Before and After winner, Picture credit: Scottish Empty Homes Partnershp